Most non-custodial parents living in Illinois understand their obligation to support their children financially. In situations where parents cannot agree on an acceptable support payment amount, it is up to the courts to calculate the noncustodial parent’s financial contribution. State law has been changed to allow for a different method of calculating these payment amounts.

The new calculations will officially go into effect on July 1, although some courts are already using them. One of the most significant changes is that child support will not simply be based on the noncustodial parent’s income and resources, but judges will take several factors into consideration. These factors will include the resources and income of the custodial parent, the contributions that each parent made during the marriage and how much time the noncustodial parent spends with the child or children.

Supporters of these changes believe that they will create a more fair situation for noncustodial parents and may also give parents an incentive to negotiate arrangements where the noncustodial parent provides more child care in lieu of making a higher support payment. This sort of approach can sometimes reduce friction between parents while also encouraging parents to develop strong bonds between themselves and their kids. A more fair calculation can also reduce the financial burden on noncustodial parents who may otherwise find themselves at risk of legal sanctions due to a failure to pay child support.

Even with the new law, there will be some noncustodial parents who fall behind due to an adverse change in their financial circumstances. In such an event, they may want to meet with an attorney in order to learn what the procedure is for seeking a modification of the order.