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Illinois changes a key child support law

Photo of Karen Lavin

Nothing is more important during a divorce or separation than the best interests of a couple's children. Although there are several legal and mediating tools to determine what adults deserve, children are protected by family courts and other institutions safeguarding their rights.

If a couple does not share custody during and after a divorce proceeding, the parent who does not take responsibility for custody may be required to pay child support to the other spouse. This money is intended to fulfill and supplement the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing and education.

The average U.S. child support payment for noncustodial adults is $430 per month. This amount is usually calculated based on the parent's net income.

Illinois recently changed the state law regarding noncustodial parents' responsibility for child support, introducing a measurement that takes the net income of the custodial parent and the time spent by children with each parent into account.

"It's felt to be fairer because it's based on both the parents' income, not just the noncustodial parent's income," according to the head judge of an Illinois county family division, which manages child support cases.

Payments for a child's health insurance are also considered in Illinois' new equation. Child support payments remain constant, regardless of whether the noncustodial parent's income goes up, unless either side asks a judge to change them.

Child custody and support arrangements are often handled during an initial divorce or custody proceeding. If a parent wishes to revisit the arrangement based on this new law or other qualifying event, he or she should consider legal representation for the process of resolving it.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, "Want to lower your child support payments? Check out these changes in the law. Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article167971427.html#storylink=cpy," Beth Hundsdorfer, Aug. 18, 2017

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