A stereotypical parenting agreement in a divorce results in the children living with the mother and the father paying child support. A father who does not make his required child support payments may be labeled a deadbeat, and the mother may go to court to enforce the payments. However, divorced fathers sometimes do not do enough to pursue child support from the mother when the parenting roles are reversed. They may be following a societal bias about their parental role, even though the law does not have the same bias.
A Father’s Role
It is still a common family arrangement for the father to be the provider and the mother to be the caretaker, but there are more families that do not follow those gender roles than in previous decades. It may be more sensible for the father to be the primary caretaker if:
- The mother has a more demanding and profitable career;
- The father’s career gives him more flexibility with his hours; or
- The father is a more nurturing and attentive parent.
However, parents tend to view divorce through traditional gender roles, even when their marital roles were not traditional. A mother may feel entitled to a majority of the parental responsibilities and assume that she will not pay child support. A father may assume that his role is to pay child support and feel that asking for support is emasculating.
Understanding Child Support
The purpose of child support is to make sure that each parent is contributing towards raising the children. Illinois’ child support system uses an income shares model, which means:
- Child support is calculated as a shared cost between both parents, based on their combined incomes and the number of children; and
- Each parent will pay a percentage of the child support obligation that is proportionate to their comparative incomes.
The parent who has the most parenting time with the children will receive child support payments because he or she is the one most often paying for child expenses. A father who is the primary parent must receive child support from the mother, even if the father has a greater income. In such a scenario, the mother’s child support payments would be less than what the father spends on child-related expenses.
Contact a Batavia Divorce Attorney
Child support is a shared responsibility for both parents after a divorce. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you make sure your spouse pays his or her proportionate share. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.