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Child support laws are changing this July

Perhaps your marriage has been struggling for a while and you are considering divorce. Or maybe you are in the divorce process and it could take months to finalize. On July 1, 2017, new laws regarding child support will come into effect, which may change how support is determined in your divorce case.

The old versus the new

The biggest change to child support orders in Illinois is the scope and number of factors that are considered when determining payments. As of right now, court looks at the non-residential parent’s income without factoring in all the contributions the residential parent can make. With the new law, court will use both parents’ incomes on the child support worksheet.

What does this change look like?

The new law aims to maintain a similar lifestyle and level of financial support to what the children would have experienced if the marriage continued. To do this, court will examine your income, your divorcing spouse’s income, how many children you have, how many days of the year each of you cares for the children and any other relevant information.

In the past, it was fairly customary to have the non-custodial parent make support payments. Under the new law, both parents can be ordered to contribute to the children’s well-being. Either of you could be required to pay for school clubs, activities, insurance, education, health needs and more. Court will still determine child support, but both parents now have an obligation in certain areas of the child’s life, depending on their financial ability.

It is worth noting that court may consider a parent’s potential income over their current income if the parent is purposefully unemployed or underemployed. This deters parents from feigning financial instability to get out of paying child support.

Divorce during the transition period

If you are going to be in the divorce process when this law changes, it will be especially important for you to have strong legal counsel. A family law attorney will understand the nuances of the changes and how they will affect you. They can answer your questions and work with you to obtain the most ideal outcome for your family.

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