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Changes Coming to Illinois Child Support Law

 Posted on December 23, 2016 in Child Support

Lombard family law attorneyIf you are parent facing a divorce—or breakup if you are not married—you probably understand that a child support order may be in your future. In most separated parent situations, one parent is required to make payments to the other parent to assist with the costs of raising their child. Usually, the parent with fewer responsibilities and less parenting time is the one who must provide the support, but the law allows a court to order support payments from either or both parents as appropriate.

Currently in Illinois, child support calculations are based on two primary factors: the net income of the supporting parent and the number of children that require support. Other considerations may be taken into account, but generally have less impact on the final order.

Need for Change

This model of calculating child support payments has come under fire in recent years by those who claim that it does not accurately reflect a family’s financial situation. By looking only at one parent’s income, the existing law may create a situation that is inequitable to one spouse. Additionally, there is no current mechanism to account for shared parenting time. A parent who shares parenting time equally with the other parent does not currently receive any additional consideration for the expenses he or she incurs during his or her time with the children.

Earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure that will reform the state’s approach to child support beginning in July 2017. The new law will eliminate the existing calculation method and replace it with an “income shares” model currently used by dozens of other states.

A More Equitable Approach

Instead of a relying on just one parent’s income, the new model looks at the combined income of both parents and the number of children to be supported. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is currently developing the scale that will be used to determine exact amounts, but the basic method is set by the new law. Based on the total combined income of the parents, the law presumes that a portion of that income should be used to support children. The parents will split that portion in accordance with their percentage of contribution to total combined income.

While this type of calculation is more complex than the current law, it ensures that support payments are more equitable. The new calculation method will also be able to better account for shared parenting time.

Child Support Questions?

The DHFS is expected to release the new official guidelines for support calculations sometime in the next few months. In the meantime, our experienced Lombard family law attorneys are happy to answer any questions you may have about the new law or any other child support concerns. Contact our office today and get the answers you need.



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