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Illinois child support models outdated, committee says

Parents who have long hoped for a change in the way child support is calculated in Illinois may find renewed hope in a recommendation by the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee. Experts say the state's child support models haven't been updated since the 1980s. With 38 states having changed their outdated models since then, many believe Illinois lawmakers should get with the times.

The state's current method of calculating child support payments is by percentage of obligatory net income. This method has the non-custodial parent paying a flat percentage based on the number of children, regardless of his or her income and the income of the custodial parent. Many states have already adopted changes that not only take into account the income of both parents, but the amount of time each parent spends with the children.

The advisory committee has suggested that all these factors be taken into consideration when calculating child support. Not only would both parents benefit from a more customized child support formula but the children would also benefit. The states that have already updated their child support models have seen reduced rates of child custody disputes and more cooperation between parents, the committee says. Everyone can agree that it's better for children to have parents who argue less.

Any changes to Illinois' child support model are not likely to happen until next year; however, with many family lawyers, judges, and politicians backing the committee, the chances are good that it will get lawmakers' attention. Those who have issues with child support may wish to consult with a family law attorney to determine how they might be affected.

Source: The DePaulia, "Seeking child support reform in Illinois," Callie Bretthauer, Feb. 3, 2013

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