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Child support changes looming for Illinois parents

Child support has always had the potential for conflict. Settling on an amount that was deemed fair by both of the child's parents was often difficult, especially considering that each parent's case is unique, and doesn't necessarily fit well into a formula or algorithm. Sometimes it would even result in one parent's refusal to pay the other parent what is owed. However, child support laws in Illinois are on the brink of significant changes.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is undergoing significant changes in the area of child support. Starting July 1, the law will have courts take a broader scope of each parent's financial situation when it comes to calculating child support. Not only will both parents' incomes be taken into account, but so will the contributions each parent made to their household income during the course of the marriage. In addition, courts will consider how much parenting time each parent has and wants when it comes to calculating child support.

The aim of these changes is to make the child support calculation process become less adversarial and more fair. For example, it may actually be more beneficial financially for a custodial parent to let the noncustodial parent have more visitation time or shared custody of the child, rather than having the noncustodial parent fight in court over how much time they have (or don't have) with the child in addition to their child support obligations.

While there will be those who oppose these changes, they may help more parents, both custodial and noncustodial, obtain a fair and appropriate child support award, as well as encourage each parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child. Parents who want more information about these changes and how they will affect them may want to seek the advice of an Illinois family law attorney.

Source: Herald & Review, "Child support changes seek fairness," Tony Reid, March 29, 2017

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