In a large number of Illinois divorce cases involving parents, one is designated the primary residential parent for the purposes of school enrollment and child support. Most such situations result in the other parent being ordered to make child support payments. An arrangement like this may be fairly equitable for parents with drastically uneven amounts of parenting time, including cases in which a non-primary residential parent who only gets parenting time once or twice per month. However, many other co-parenting arrangements are much more even, and in some cases, may be 50/50. For a non-primary residential parent in such a situation, he or she may try to negotiate lower child support payments.
Under the Law
According to the letter of the state law regarding child support, a court’s decision regarding support does not include explicit consideration for parenting time. Instead, the supporting parent’s income and the number of children are the primary considerations, while the needs of the child, the needs of each parent, and their available resources may be subjectively taken into account as well. When strictly applied, it may seem nearly impossible for a parent to show that parenting time should impact his or her child support payments.