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Family law attorneys must shift gears on child support

One of the most hotly contested issues between parents, whether divorced or separated, is child support. Even though most parents understand that they are obligated to financially support their children even if they no longer live with them, noncustodial parents often feel as though the "system" takes advantage of them. They believe that Illinois family law stacks the deck against them and leaves them paying more than they believe is right.

This may be because before July 1 of this year, calculating child support was based on the income of the parent paying it, which was then multiplied by a certain percentage based on the number of children. Some parents may have believed that the formula seemed to "punish" noncustodial parents since the income of the custodial parent was not taken into consideration. However, as of July 1, that formula is no longer being used.

Instead, Illinois now uses an income sharing formula that considers the incomes of both parents, along with what it costs to raise a child. The new system considers other factors as well, which is aimed at making the system more fair and may more evenly distribute the financial obligations of the parents. This new method may eliminate the ire many noncustodial parents have felt regarding the obligation to pay child support.

This change does mean that family law attorneys will need to study the new method in order to apply it correctly as they assist their clients. Even with the new rules, adjustments may be necessary, depending on a family's unique circumstances. The changes may also mean that having a legal advocate to represent parents during the child support process may be even more important.

Source: isba.org, "New income shares child support calculation method takes effect July 1", Matthew Hector, Accessed on July 15, 2017

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