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New Child Support Law Now in Effect

Posted on in Child Support

Lombard family law attorneysUntil just a few months ago, Illinois courts calculated child support as a percentage of the income of the parent with fewer parental responsibilities—referred to in the past as the non-custodial parent. Since July 1, 2017, however, a new law has brought child support guidelines in Illinois up to date with modern trends and started improving the lives of all parties involved.

The Old Child Support Law

The previous law in Illinois has long been criticized for being inequitable, with not enough potential exemptions taken into account, and an alleged unfair burden on the non-custodial parent. Under the old guidelines, there were two primary factors in determining the amount of support to be paid: the income of the non-custodial parent and the number of children to be supported.

Critics found this unfair not only because not enough exemptions were taken but also because, in some situations, it effectively punished a supporting parent financially for spending time with his or her child. For example, if a father was the party paying support for two children, he would have paid 28 percent of his net income regardless of how much parenting time he enjoyed. If he had a substantial amount of parenting time, he would likely spend more money on the children while they were in his care, in addition to providing for basic needs like beds, bedding, and food. However, he would still be required to pay the same amount of child support as he would have with little to no parenting time.

The Big Changes

The new rules are built on what is called an “income shares” or “shared parenting” model—a model currently in use in more than three dozen other states. In this system, the incomes of both parents are taken into account, rather than solely that of the noncustodial parent. This alone will likely make most cases more equitable, but there are other considerations that can also be helpful for parents. The new model also includes a mechanism for taking shared parenting into account when each parent has the child at least 146 overnights per year.

There are critics of the new law, and most of them are of the opinion that it is not sufficiently clear enough to prevent some parents from almost entirely skirting their support obligations. While a court can always make a downward deviation from the support guidelines if it is warranted, that choice does still remain with the court, and judges are, of course, fallible. Some critics would have preferred to put that choice into the hands of a neutral third party, or to mandate increased financial scrutiny so that the choice would almost never be necessary.

Ask a Divorce Attorney

While the efficacy of the new rules remains to be seen, it will definitely alter the divorce and support landscape for many parents and children, hopefully for the better. If you have questions about your case, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k505.htm

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=3982&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=90198

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