Child Support Law Changes Take Effect
Major revisions have been made to the way that child support is calculated by courts in Illinois. The Illinois legislature has been wrestling with the way that child support has been calculated in our state for many years, but as of this month, much-needed changes are finally here.
What is New About The Law?
The law, which went into effect on July 1, changes an outdated, static, and unchanging methodology for child support calculations and switches Illinois to an income shares model used by many other states.
Under the previous law, courts calculated child support obligations using a fixed percentage of the nonresidential parent’s income based on the number of children being supported. For example, under the old law, if there was one child in the marriage the parent without primary custody would be ordered to pay 20% of his or her net income in child support. The effect of these calculations produced results that were insufficient in many in cases to actually address the needs and the best interest of children involved in a divorce.
The new law is aimed at focusing more on the needs and abilities of each parent as well as the needs of the child in determining which parent pays what in child support. For example, the courts will no longer use an arbitrary percentage to determine how much of one parent's income is going to be required for child support. Instead, the courts will make a determination about how much money an intact household with the same levels of income would spend on the care of their child or children. Once that amount has been determined, the court will then factor in variables like:
- The educational needs of the children;
- The financial needs of the parents;
- The financial abilities of the parents; and
- The child’s health care and educational needs.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has been tasked with drafting the exact guidelines that are to be used by courts in their calculations of child support. Another change in the law alters what can be counted as income for the purposes of calculating child support. For the first time in Illinois, spousal support, also referred to as spousal maintenance may be counted as income and factored into the child support calculations.
Can I Change My Support Order Under the New Law?
The new law specifically provides that its passage is not sufficient grounds to seek a modification of an existing child support order. If you believe, however, that your order is outdated and no longer meets your family’s needs, enlisting the help of a Kane County divorce lawyer is the best way to make sure your options are adequately outlined and explained. Contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates by calling 630-232-9700, and schedule your consultation today.