Child Support

Child support is established to ensure a child's basic daily necessities are met, such as shelter, food, clothes, medical costs and education. The custodial parent is usually on the receiving end, however support may be shared depending on the custody arrangement and income of each parent.


Establishing Child Support

Determining fair and reasonable child support can be a complicated and tricky area of family law, and may involve substantial investigative work. When determining child support for the first time, we closely examine the financial situations of both parents. This includes analysis of earnings, income and other financial resources, and unusual employment scenarios. It is important to note that there are many different variables that can impact how income is treated for purposes of child support.

You can get an estimate of the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent may have to pay to the custodial parent, but keep in mind that these calculators are for informational and educational purposes only. The amount of child support a court will order for any particular case may be different from the amount estimated by the calculator.

Click here for a Child Support Calculator

I have extensive experience in this area, and will help you to facilitate an agreement regarding child support or, if necessary, aggressively advocate for you in court.

"I've typed this note over and over because I can't quite find the right words to thank you on behalf of myself and my children. So I'll just stick with this - - - thank you Walter."
"I completely understand why you chose to specialize in family law. Dad and Lawyer receive equal billing on your resume."

Enforcing Child Support

One of the most difficult situations a parent can deal with is when the other parent fails to pay child support, and the one who ultimately suffers is the child. When a judge makes an order for child support, he is creating a law specific to your situation. If one fails to comply with the terms of the child support order, they can be found in contempt of court which can be found to be a violation of both civil terms and criminal laws. Whether you are the recipient or the payor of the support, failure to comply is an emotionally charged issue with serious implications that calls for legal intervention.

Child Custody

In family law, child custody refers to determining which parent will legally be responsible for the child's legal care, security, and well being until the age of 18. If parents cannot come to a mutual agreement regarding the custody of their child, then the decision will be made by a judge rather than the parents. Both you and the law share a common goal, to protect the child's best interest.


Custody is split into two parts

Legal custody gives the parent(s) the authority to make legal decisions on behalf of their child, affecting education, religion, medical care and overall well-being. Either one or both parents can be awarded legal custody. When only one parent has legal custody it is considered sole legal custody. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having the legal authority to make joint or individual decisions about their child.

Physical custody refers to the actual physical placement of the child. The courts may award residential physical custody in which the child only resides at the home of one parent and visits at the home of the other parent, or shared parenting in which the child lives with both parents an equal amount of the time. The courts will determine the set amount of time the child resides with each parent, which may or may not be equal.

In the majority of divorces, fathers have visitation two weekends a month and a few hours during the week. There's a new legal trend called "proportional time", where the custody arrangement is based on time dads spend with their kids prior to the divorce. This arrangement is worth investigating for fathers who want more involvement with their children.


Representation for either party in paternity actions can be handled by my office. I've equally assisted mothers asserting their right for financial support and benefits, and fathers determining paternity, establishing their rights and obligations regarding visitation and support.

Illinois has separate laws for unwed parents and those that are divorced. If you're an unwed parent facing a custody issue, visitation, child support, or other factors before the paternity courts, my experience in both arenas (divorce and paternity) will serve you well. Illinois law specifically recognizes a child's rights to parents' physical, emotional and monetary support. Those rights extend to kids of unwed parents as well as children in homes with married, divorce, separated, or adoptive parents.

Grandparent rights can also be a significant issue in paternity cases. Once paternity is established, the courts are likely to grant grandparents' visitation rights. I have significant experience working with clients on grandparents' rights issues associated with paternity cases.


The road that leads each couple to adoption is different, yet they all stem from a desire to share love. Adoptive parents give a child the security of being wanted before that child even becomes a part of their family.

The first rule in planning for a successful adoption is to be prepared. I suggest that you read as many books on the subject as possible, and talk to other adoptive families when feasible. Every experience is different, and ever experience is life changing.


International or Domestic Adoptions

International adoption offers a gateway into a new culture as you immerse yourself in the customs and lifestyle of the country where your child lives. After your research, the next step whether you choose to adopt internationally or domestically is picking an agency. The agency you choose should be fully accredited here in the United States as well as the countries in which they facilitate adoptions. Speak to people who have used the agency to get both the pros and cons of their experience.

Whether you are interested in domestic or foreign adoption, you will be asked to put together a dossier of your family. If you have older children, involving them in the creation of the dossier can be quite helpful to help them welcome their new sibling.

Paperwork is a time consuming area of adoption, and international adoptions require much more official paperwork than domestic ones. You'll need to provide birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, information on existing children, formal medical examinations and criminal background checks. You will be fingerprinted by your local police precinct and checked out by Federal and State agencies. A home study will also be required by an accredited social worker or agency. They will be checking to see that the environment is acceptable for the child, and you need to be prepared with answers about childcare, extended family and their role in the child's life.


If you have had a substantial change in circumstances since your order of divorce was issued, a modification regarding child support, alimony or child custody can be pursued. Over the years, I've seen many parents on either end of the spectrum show reluctance towards further change. However, the results are generally positive for both parents and child and I recommend pursuing modifications when changes are warranted.

Child support amounts can typically be changed only upon a showing of material and substantial change in circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in your income.

Alimony may similarly be adjusted or terminated upon a showing of material and significant changes in circumstances for either party. For example, remarriage of your former spouse may be cause for termination of alimony payments.

Child custody or visitation may be modified, as many situations may lead to this request. Particulars such as the relocation of one of the parents, a change in work schedule of a parent, or an unsafe environment can yield a modification.

Open Adoption or Closed Adoption

In an open adoption, the birth parents stay involved in the life of the child to some extent. The child knows his or her birth parent or parents, and the adoptive couple establishes some guidelines by which the contact is maintained. All parties are aware of the identities of both the biological parents and adoptive parents. In most instances involving international adoption, the files of the birth parents are sealed and no information is given to the adoptive parents or the child.

Adoption is a legal, emotional, and often lengthy process, and I can help you with the legalities as you focus on your new family. I find this to be one of the most rewarding fields in the practice of law.

I would be happy to meet with you for a complimentary consultation. Please contact me directly in the form below, or by phone at (630) 873-8400.



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