Understanding Illinois' New Child Support LawIllinois is schedule to enact a new child support law on July 1 that will switch the state to a income shares model for calculating support payments. The state currently uses a percentage of obligor net income model, but income shares is considered a more equitable method. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for creating the guidelines for the new child support model, but is not required to complete it by the time the law goes into effect. From the language of the law, divorcing parents can expect several changes in how child support payments will be determined.

New Formula

Illinois’ current child support system requires a parent to pay a set percentage of his or her net income, based on the number of children being supported. The new system eliminates that percentages scale in favor of a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes:

  • The parents’ net incomes are combined as if they are part of the same household; and
  • The parent without primary allocation of parental responsibility makes support payments for a percentage of the children’s expenses that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined net incomes.

The IDHFS still must create a table that specifies how payments are calculated, but the formula is expected to more fairly divide the parenting expenses. Theoretically, if a parent is required to pay child support and earns 40 percent of the combined net income, his or her payments would equal 40 percent of the children’s expenses.


The law stipulates other guidelines that may be needed to determine child support payments:

  • Any spousal support payments resulting from the divorce are part of the recipient’s net income when calculating the combined income for child support payments.
  • If a parent is unemployed, his or her potential income will be used, based on work history and qualifications. The minimum monthly payment is $40.
  • The amount of time children stay with each parent can change how child support is calculated. If the children spend at least 146 nights with each parent during a year, it is considered a shared parenting arrangement. The parents’ child support obligations are multiplied by the percentage of nights the children spent with them. The costs offset, and the parent with the higher child support amount will pay the difference.

Determining Child Support

With the uncertainty about how the new child support law will be enforced, it is important to have strong legal guidance. A Kane County child support attorney at Van Larson, P.C. will stay abreast of the new law and how it may affect your child support settlement.



Posted in Child support, Divorce, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , |

alimonyThe month of April may signal the arrival of spring, but it is also the deadline for most people to file their taxes. For couples who have gone through or are in the midst of a divorce, there are several issues which may come up that could have a significant issue on federal income taxes. One of those issues is spousal support, and unlike child support, spousal support is considered to be taxable income according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Under the tax laws, any payment that meets the falling criteria is considered to be spousal support and therefore, the receiving spouse needs to claim it as income on their tax return:

  • The spouses will be filing separate, not joint, tax returns;
  • The payments made by one spouse to the other are “cash” payments. It is important to note that payments can be made via checking account, bank check, or money order;
  • One spouse is making the payment to their former spouse;
  • The spouses do not live in the same residence while these payments are made;
  • The payments are separate from child support payments, and they also have nothing to do with any property settlement which may have been awarded to the spouse in the divorce settlement;
  • There is nothing in the divorce decree (or legal separation agreement) which specifies that the payments are not spousal support payments;
  • If the spouse receiving the payments dies, there is no legal requirement for the spouse who is paying to continue to make those payments.

Whereas the spouse who is receiving the spousal support is required to pay taxes, the spouse who is required to make those payments is allowed to use those funds as a tax deduction. In order to take the deduction, the IRS does require that the receiving spouse’s social security number be included. Their tax ID could also be used instead. If the paying spouse fails to provide either number, then the IRS could disallow the deduction. Refusal of the receiving spouse to give their social security number to the paying spouse could result in a tax penalty for the receiving spouse.

The complexities of taxes, not just in spousal support but in other areas of divorce settlements, can be overwhelming for those going through a divorce. This is why it is important to contact a skilled Kane County divorce attorney to advocate for you during negotiations and litigation if that becomes necessary.




Posted in Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , |

Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,An Illinois woman’s social media photos that depict her celebrating her divorce have garnered international media attention. The woman hired the original photographer who took her wedding photographs five years ago to document the celebration, which included setting her wedding dress on fire. The woman, who said she was with her ex for a total of 10 years and who she shares a 6-year-old daughter with, said the experience made her “feel free.”

Although setting your wedding dress on fire may feel like an extreme choice to you, there are other steps you can take to help you move forward after a divorce.

Recognize Your Own Value

Many times, people who go through a divorce feel as if they have failed and question their own worth and how much they really do have to offer. Make a list of all your good qualities and read that list on a daily basis. Keep doing this until you really believe what you are reading.

Give Yourself Ten Minutes Every Day

Divorce is like a death and it is only natural to go through a grieving process. People handle this in different ways, but it is not uncommon for people to keep themselves too busy, especially doing things for everyone else, but forgetting about themselves. Take ten minutes a day for self-care. Do something special just for you. Even if it is something as simple as reading a book or taking a walk.

Let It Go

Marriage breakups can be harsh and ugly. Spouses can say and do hurtful things to each other. However, it is important to let go of any anger and bitterness you have towards your ex-spouse. It is also critical for moving forward not to dwell on what could have been or the “if only” questions we all tend to focus on.


It can be hard adjusting to single parenting and all the responsibility that go along with it. Instead of having two people sharing parenting duties, suddenly it is all on you. This can feel overwhelming and stressful at times. You also may be feeling financial stress of now being a one-income household. No matter what you are dealing with, remember to find the humor in things every day. Take time to just relax and laugh with your children. Seeing you relaxed will also help them feel more secure in knowing that things will be fine despite the divorce.

Representation You Can Trust

Whether you are just considering divorce or having issues that may require a modification to your existing divorce, contact a skilled Kane County divorce attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Call the office of Van A. Larson, P.C. at 630-879-9090 today.






Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , |

Non-Custodial Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Visitation Rights, visitation, family law, child custody, divorce, Kane County family law lawyerThe state of Illinois has updated a number of laws regarding visitation rights. One of these changes that have been in effect since January 1, 2017, is House Bill 5656. This new law states that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is now required to make a reasonable effort to accommodate and grant visitation privileges to non-custodial grandparents and/or great-grandparents of a child who is in the care and custody of the DCFS.

The Department is now responsible for specific criteria when determining whether to grant visitation, such as:

  • The DCFS should try and consider whether or not the child would like to visit with their grandparent or great-grandparent.
  • They should determine the child’s maturity level. The child may not be able to express how they really feel if they are too young to know the entirety of the situation.
  • Evaluate the overall health of the grandparent or great-grandparent. They may not be in the best shape to travel and see their grandchild.
  • Consider how long each visitation will be, followed by the impact that that specific visitation would have on the child in the long run.
  • The DCFS has the right to deny a request made by a grandparent for visitation after they look over the necessary criteria expressed by the court.

As the years go by, visitation laws will continue to evolve in the state of Illinois. However, one aspect of the legal system that will remain the same is the continued creation of protocols and rules that help encourage grandparents to solve visitation issues outside of the court.

A recent change to visitation that went into effect in 2016 was that the term parental visitation is now called parenting time. The new name came with a few new rules, the most significant one being that one parent is now granted most of the parenting time so that they can give their child a stable life. This update in visitation rights affects whether or not the grandparent will be allowed to see their grandchild. If the court decides that one of the parents is a danger to their child, they could have limitations or restrictions to keep the child safe. Therefore, the child could be appointed more time to spend with their grandparent or great-grandparent.

For more information on grandparent visitation rights, or other family law related matters, please contact a Kane County family law lawyer at The Law Offices of Van A. Larson P.C. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-879-9090. We are here to provide assistance to our clients in DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties.




Posted in Child Custody, Family Law | Tagged , , , , |

Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences. People going through divorce may withdraw from social circles, feel disappointment and rejection, and lose self-esteem. All of these feelings, when coupled with financial and child custody issues, create an extremely stressful time for someone going through a divorce.

On the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory Scale, divorce ranks second only after the death of a spouse. Stressful events ranking lower than divorce on the scale include detention in jail, the death of a close family member and major illness or injury. Stress affects mental and physical health in a pronounced way.

Physical Health Effects

As to physical effects, divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions than married people. Chronic health conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

This group of divorced and widowed people also have an increased rate of mobility limitations. Mobility limitations include not being able to climb stairs or stand for prolonged periods.

Drastic weight gain or loss, as well as the development of a metabolic syndrome, are also common for people going through divorce.

Mental Health Effects

Health professionals believe that the physical health issues experienced by divorced people are due to the tremendous mental and emotional issues they experience. Doctors reason that if someone is mentally or emotionally unwell, it is difficult for him or her to exercise or have good eating habits.

Common mental or emotional disturbances experienced during divorce include:


Depression is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, intense sadness, and withdrawal from the world. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and enjoyable activities;
  • Fatigue and low energy;
  • Trouble concentrating; and
  • Change in appetite.


Anxiety levels can be at their highest during a divorce. The future is uncertain and there are likely numerous changes in your life. For example, you may have to move or get a job. Your day-to-day routine has likely been altered as well. Anxiety levels can be at their highest during a divorce. The future is uncertain and there are likely numerous changes in your life. For example, you may have to move or get a job. Your day-to-day routine has likely been altered as well.


Sleep disruptions and nightmares are common among those going through a divorce. Insomnia is sometimes caused by depression.

Meet with a Kane County Family Law Attorney

If you are going through a divorce, you have a lot on your plate. One thing that can help is hiring an experienced Kane County divorce attorney who you can be confident is handling your divorce proceedings efficiently and professionally. Call the office of Van A. Larson, P.C. at 630-879-9090 today.






Posted in Divorce, Divorce Advice | Tagged , , , , , , |