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Have You Been Affected by the New Child Support Law?

Posted on in Child Support

Naperville child support lawyersOn July 1, 2017, Illinois implemented its new child support law, which codifies changes made to the system in 2016 and early 2017. The most important change is that the state will now use the so-called “income shares” formula in calculating child support, as opposed to the old method which only considered the income of the paying parent. While most agree that the change will benefit parents who pay support, there are some who have reported complications and confusion. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the law before having to deal with its changes in court.

Changes to Support Levels

Some things about the child support guidelines and about actual payments will not change. Only the parent with fewer parental responsibilities or less parenting time will pay support, and the payment methods are also the same. However, nearly everything else has changed, and that can be disconcerting to have to deal with.

Illinois law mandates that in order to petition for a lowering of one’s support obligations, one must be able to show a “substantial change in circumstances.” Such a change may include the loss of a job, a serious illness or injury, or the remarriage of one of the parents. The law also allows for a modification when small changes accumulating over time would result in at least a 20 percent change in the amount of support to be paid if a recalculation was completed. It is important to not, however, that the new law itself states that its enactment is not a sufficient reason to seek an adjustment of support. In other words, one cannot seek a change solely because the law was changed. There must be another reason behind it.

Adjustments and Maintenance

The other noticeable trend one can see is that in divorces in which one spouse makes significantly more than the other, there is little change in the amount of support payment required. When both spouses make roughly the same, and thus no spousal support has been awarded, the difference is staggering - it can be as high as the thousands. The reason is because the income shares model of child support takes not only both parents’ incomes into account, but more specifically both parents’ net incomes, and once those figures have been determined, courts generally wish to equalize the parents’ incomes as much as possible.

This was and is a common source of confusion for those whose support cases were decided on or after July 1, 2017 - the new rules do apply to those cases, even if they were filed or initiated before that date. If you have planned out your support payments for the foreseeable future, only to find out that your may need to readjust, it can be extremely upsetting. Doing your due diligence beforehand can make a difference.

Need Help Determining Your New Support Amount?

If you are confused about just how much support you may owe under the new law, consulting an attorney is the best idea. Our passionate DuPage County family law attorneys will work with you and help you make sense of the new law and its application. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.


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