Parents in Rockford will be interested to hear that Illinois lawmakers are considering changing the way family law courts calculate child support payments. Right now, there are 740,000 child support cases pending in Illinois, and the present law does not take into account the custodial parent’s income when determining the amount a non-custodial parent will pay.

Most states already have a system that accounts for the incomes of both parents, and some Illinois lawmakers are in favor of following that example. Other states also reduce the amount of child support a parent is obliged to pay, depending on how much time the paying parent spends with the child. Current Illinois law doesn’t allow for such a break, even if the child lives with the paying parent for significant periods of time throughout the year.

Illinois is currently one of 10 states that still use a flat percentage to calculate how much a non-custodial parent must pay from his or her own income. The percentage increases if more children are involved.

The new way of doing things would base child support payments on how much financial support the child would have received if the parents had stayed married.

While the proposed changes might be more financially realistic, critics say that the new method would result in more arguments between custodial and non-custodial parents who will want to know exactly how the payments are being spent.

Still, many people in the Rockford area would agree that considering the income of both parents’ households is a fair idea. The proposed changes are in the early stages of development, so if a law is passed, it likely won’t affect current child support cases, except with regard to future modifications. However, Illinois residents who are concerned with such matters will want to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help ensure an equitable solution for all parties involved.

Source:, “Illinois Considers New Way to Calculate Child Support,” Michael Helfand, Feb. 6, 2012