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Illinois child support laws are catching up with society

Social expectations and customs sometimes are a lot faster than the laws surrounding them.

When the law does finally catch up, there are usually some clear winners and losers as situations get reversed and changes are abruptly made. That’s the reality right now for Illinois parents who are separated, divorced or never actually married.

The noncustodial parent, in many cases, can now expect to pay less child support than he or she did before (which means the primary custodial parent will receive less support than he or she has in the past or may have expected to receive in the future).

The old formula was static and basically didn’t take into account anything except the noncustodial parent’s net income. In other words, it didn’t matter if the official noncustodial parent actually had physical custody paid fairly often — or even regularly took care of the child for days or weeks at a time. Support was still solidly fixed based on the parent’s official status on the paperwork as the noncustodial parent.

Now, the court is getting a little more discerning and catching up to the modern reality where there often isn’t such a clear divide between who has custody and who doesn’t. The old laws made more sense when one parent — usually the mother — stayed home to care for the children. Now, both parents usually have to work to make ends meet — so they may juggled physical custody back and forth often to accommodate their schedules and keep the kids out of pricey day care centers.

Under the new laws, both parents’ incomes are considered in the formula. In addition, factors like visitation and who pays for the child’s health insurance are also considered before a child support amount is fixed.

The changes are also expected to have a domino effect on custody requests in the future. Parents who have custody 147 nights or more can expect a big reduction in their support obligation. That means parents may be asking specifically for that minimum number of custody days per year with their child — or asking for a support order to be be re-evaluated based on the amount of time they they already have custody.

An experienced attorney can provide you with additional information on how to hear For more assistance with child custody matters, talk to an attorney today.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Want to lower your child support payments? Check out these changes in the law.,” Beth Hundsdorfer, Oct. 18, 2017

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