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Change in child support calculation sought in Illinois

Change in child support calculation sought in Illinois

Date: February 16, 2013

In 2011, an advisory committee in Illinois recommended a change in the method used to calculate child support. Illinois officials apparently are not willing to act as quickly as the officials in 38 other states to update a system that is considered outdated. Paying child support, however, affects many people, and those who are undergoing divorce would benefit if the current system changes.

Under the current child support system in Illinois, the noncustodial parent pays a fixed percentage of income. This amount is dependent upon the number of children. The child support formula fails to consider the earnings of a custodial parent. It also does not take into account the time a noncustodial parent devotes to his or her child.

A chairperson of the Children’s Rights Council prefers a newer income-sharing model that considers the income of both parents. It would also consider the amount of time a noncustodial parent spends with his or her children. The new model is financially fair to both parents and results in fewer conflicts and custody battles, supporters say.

The advisory committee in Illinois is responsible for conducting a periodic review of the guidelines related to child support. The committee is in the process of creating legislation to be introduced in the General Assembly.

One issue that must be resolved is establishing how much time a parent is required to spend with a child. This is especially important since it would be a factor in calculating child support under the new model. Illinois suggests a minimum of 40 percent of overnight time for noncustodial parents.

Child support payments are intended to help meet a child’s everyday living and medical expenses. Unfortunately, child support issues can become complicated and can test the goodwill of even the most cooperative of ex-spouses. Therefore, both parties should consult child support professionals to ensure that the best interests of the child are always kept in mind.

Source:, “Seeking child support reform in Illinois,” Callie Bretthauer, Feb. 3, 2013

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