Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Illinois child support guidelines may soon be reformed

The child support system in Illinois will likely be reformed soon. The reforms appear slow to gain traction, as 38 other states have already addressed child support reform and updated their statutes to reflect newer standards. Illinois currently uses a system that requires parents to pay a flat amount based upon how many children they have. This system fails to address the custodial parent's income or the amount of time a noncustodial parent may spend with their child, issues that will likely be taken into account once the law undergoes reform.

The new model would likely balance the scales and ensure both parents are financially responsible for their children. It is believed reforming child support could also decrease child custody battles because other states who have made changes to the system report lower instances of custody conflicts. What is stalling the reform revolves around whether the calculations should use a gross or a net model when reviewing a parent's income.

As of now, there has not been any uniform agreement on one particular formula. In addition, a noncustodial parent's visitation time also remains a sticking factor. The state has proposed parents should be allowed overnight time equal to a minimum of 40 percent.

Reforming child support is a lengthy process, and although the state is due for a change, it may not occur until 2014. Changing how child support is calculated could help Illinois parents struggling to make ends meet. With the proposed guidelines, the noncustodial parent's true financial picture will be taken into account when calculating the amount that should be paid. This may help ensure child support payments are equitable and result in a better balance between the financial responsibilities both parents shoulder.

Source: DePauliaonline.com, "Seeking child support reform in Illinois," Callie Bretthauer, Feb. 3, 2013

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