Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

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Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby hawks_fan » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:30 pm

Hi all,
This is my first post after signing up. I wish I would have found this site before my divorce.

My divorce was finalized in Illinois in October 2014. Married 17 years. 3 children - current ages 18, 15, 13.
At the time of the divorce, Illinois had a formula for child support of 32% net income for 3 children, 28% for 2 and 20% for 1.
At the time of the divorce, spousal maintenance was negotiated. In order to end the lawyer spend, I agreed to 20% net income as maintenance for 5 years, but insisted that maintenance be non-renewable. It is written into the divorce agreement as ending after 60 months, though the amount is reviewable if my salary changes.

Effective January 1, 2015, amendments to Sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act were implemented which standardizes the way maintenance is calculated. The calculation changed dramatically and calculates maintenance first, then child support based off of what's remaining. The amount of maintenance will be deducted from my net income for purposes of calculating child support.

My oldest is already 18 and will roll off of child support when they are 18 and a high school graduate which is scheduled for May 2017. I am preparing to file a child support modification with the court.

So here's my question, if I file a request for modification, will the court use the 'old, grandfathered' rules that were in place at the time of my divorce, or will my modification request result in 'all new' calculations using the current methodology?

The difference between those two outcomes is significant. If the new methodology will likely be used, then I would approach her directly for an agreement that we both sign that is not put in front of a judge.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby Havalu7 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:39 pm

Welcome OP!

Thanks for all of the details on your case. I'm just working the front desk and hesitate to attempt to answer your question without knowledge in your area. Kidding about the front desk btw.

We have a lot volunteers in your state and probably even in your borough or county so sit tight and you will get some great responses here.

In fact do you care to elaborate on the details of your divorce,your parenting time, and how the process went for you being a few years on the other side of it?
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby hawks_fan » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:16 pm

Sure, I would love to share my experience with others. I've actually had conversations with two people in my company who were at the beginning of the divorce process and shared my experience.

My ex and I should not have gotten married. I reflect now and realize that I was not happy in the relationship, but at 24 and with no guidance from anyone, I just maintained the relationship and kept taking the next steps and we eventually married young. 18 months later my first child was born. The relationship issues were masked by having young children to take care of. 2 more kids each about 2 1/2 years apart. I am a very involved father and I love my kids with all of my heart so I am glad that I have them, just wish the relationship worked out differently.

Once the kids were old enough to babysit for themselves, she changed. She started going out on Friday and Saturday nights with her sister and friends. I don't drink or go to bars or clubs so I happily stayed home with the kids. Then Monday nights were poker nights. Then Thursday nights were also party nights. She also decided that she would not go back to work and her new 'job' became spending money to keep up with the neighbors.

The relationship issues were obvious but I stuck it out because I grew up in a divorced household (lived with mom since age 5) and I didn't want my kids to go through that, too. In mid-2011, I was given an opportunity with work to relocate for a very good developmental role. We agreed to move the family though we both knew the relationship was over. The moment we were gone, she basically became depressed and longed to be back home. It affected the kids' attitudes regarding the new location. She would frequently return home, on her own, for visits. It was during one of these visits that she started her affair with her personal trainer. After that began, all she wanted to do was find reasons to return home by herself. Eventually I overheard a part of a conversation that resulted in me confronting her and her confessing to the affair. I still remember vividly her saying, "And I checked. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state so I still get my money." I ended my assignment early and the Monday after I returned to Illinois, I filed divorce.

She returned to our big house that had been rented while we were away and I moved into an apartment. In hindsight, I should have moved back into the house, too. I would have seen my kids a lot more during a very difficult time in their lives and I would have save lots of money in maintaining the second residence. She felt that I was so much smarter than her that she needed to have a lawyer review every single thing to make sure that I didn't manipulate her into something that harms her settlement. So we fed the lawyers. They would have monthly updates with the judge that would accomplish nothing. 6 months went by with nothing more than the lawyers sending documents and forms and requests to each other but no tangible progress towards a resolution. I decided that I was going to force her to testify in a deposition about her relationship and whether or not she was getting married to this other man which I had seen in an email. After receiving a $12,000 bill from my lawyer, and after paying all of her lawyer fees since she had no income, I decided that the best thing for me was to cut my losses as quickly as possible.

I proposed mediation and I gave into nearly everything that she wanted. At that point, I decided I'd rather pay her to get rid of her than pay the lawyers. Even after that mediated settlement, it still took 5 more months to actually get the divorce finalized. She had to sell the house and we split the equity. She got to keep her car and car payments. I kept my car. She got half of my 401k,stock account, pension, all cash assets. I got a few personal belongings and furniture, but basically she got all of the stuff.

She first proposed a parenting agreement of every other weekend and one night a week for dinner. I had to fight her for more time because I am an active dad. She accused me of fighting for more time in order to pay less child support. In the end, I have every other weekend with my Sunday night being a sleepover, every Tuesday night as a sleepover, every Thursday night for dinner only (back by 9pm). Then we alternate holidays based on odd/even years.

She continues to complain about not having enough money. I try not to speak with her because every time it results in me getting yelled at. I send emails and texts that are extremely professional, basically treating her like a disgruntled customer. She has already positioned that she will have no money to pay for college costs for my 18 year old. I am planning to take her to court on that matter, too, but we have to wait until the college is selected and the costs are known because the divorce agreement essentially deferred a discussion on college costs.

Hopefully that helps someone out there...
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby Havalu7 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:35 pm

So you agreed to that parenting plan or the judge ordered it?

I apologize but on my flip phone it's tough to read through big blocks of sentences so going forward please try to break it up with some paragraph breaks. I know that some guys will just pass over larger blocks of text and we want folks to benefit from your posts.

Let me ask you a favor for benefit of the other new guys and those who could benefit from your experience; can you give us an elevator pitch of say 10 floors with four or five points of what you would do over and four or five things you feel you did right?

Trust me some guys never join here but do read the threads and I am sure learn from and apply the do's and dont's of which you could elaborate.

Kidding about the flip phone btw jest gettin old I guess.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby astrolink » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:55 pm

It appears the calculation of child support is not handcuffed by your alimony agreement. Some states require a specific amount of time must pass before an adjustment can be made.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby hawks_fan » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:31 pm

astrolink wrote:It appears the calculation of child support is not handcuffed by your alimony agreement. Some states require a specific amount of time must pass before an adjustment can be made.

The parenting agreement has been in place since Feb 2014. The divorce since Oct 2014. Both have exceeded the minimum 2 years moratorium for changes.
The divorce sets the child support and maintenance and allows for modification to child support once each child is 18 and a high school graduate.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby hawks_fan » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:41 pm

Havalu7 wrote:Can you give us an elevator pitch of say 10 floors with four or five points of what you would do over and four or five things you feel you did right?

Sorry for writing too much. I thought more detail would be better.

Do over
- Stay in the house until progress was being made and a divorce was imminent.
- I started off paying all of her house bills (since it was a joint mortgage and she had no income) and I would put money in her hand whenever she would ask for it. I would have forced a judge to determine temporary support which would have highlighted that we could not afford to keep the house and my apartment and pay all of the bills.
- Similar to above, but force the sale of the home sooner.
- Realize sooner that all she wanted to do was feed the lawyers. She was unwilling to make a decision on her own without a $300 lawyer consultation. I would have completed a cost/benefit analysis of the remaining contested issues and just given up sooner to put less money in lawyers pockets.
- Settle, settle, settle. In hindsight, the whole process was a waste of time and money. The final divorce outcome was marginally different than what would have been agreed if we started in mediation.

Did right
- The kids. I spent as much time as I was permitted with my kids. I took them for mental health therapy. Initially they hated the idea, but after the first session, they were open and willing to continue.
- Always communicated respectfully. She had no evidence of me writing mean, nasty things but I had a stack of emails and texts that were inappropriate.
- Settled (eventually). If I had done the deposition and trial, there would have been bigger lawyer bills and no money left to share.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby Havalu7 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:48 pm

Thanks as details are good but you need to be able to deliver your "pitch" within that said timeframe hence the 10 floors example if you go back before a judge.

And be able to do so with a adversarial opposing counsel hammering your every statement.

Going to go back and read your well stated thread brother.
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby Havalu7 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:52 pm

OP what if you had stayed in the house?
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Re: Child Support Modification pending but IL rules changed

Unread postby Bohica_2017 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:59 am

I guess everything is negotiable... in IL, it's currently flat percentages, til 18. But a judge is under no obligation to accept an agreement, but apparently he did. Not sure why she'd accept anything less than the state guideline.

Sounds to me like you got a gift! I wouldn't rock the boat if you're lookin at short time.

Not sure what a judge would do. Definitely a question for a lawyer.

The formula changes in July 2017... from flat percentages to more of an "income sharing" model similar to spousal maintenance, but will factor in parenting time. I read that this change isn't "material enough" to flood the courts with CS amendments. Mine will be done before then... so I'm on 28% til my oldest rolls off in a little more than a year, then 21%?

Oddly... the mediator told us the maint. and CS will be on my honor and we simply contact him for adjustments vs going to court? Works for me... I thought all CS went thru court order/state disbursement.
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