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Illinois’ Turn for Child Support System Overhaul: The Current System

By Nottage and Ward on January 23, 2012

Child custody and support are two of the most contentious aspects of a divorce and can lead to ongoing bitter disputes that are definitely not in the best interests of the child. Illinois aims to remedy these common situations by implementing a new child support payment system, which will be better for all parties. In this two-part blog series, we will be discussing the shortcomings of the current system and the remedies of the new system.

According to the Chicago Tribune, an advisory committee to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is supporting a complete reconstruction of the state’s child support payment system, which really does not allow for the best arrangement, for parents or children, in its current state. A bill is being drafted to change the current system to an income shares system, a trend that is already in place in 38 states.

There are a variety of scenarios where the current Illinois child support system fails. The basic rule is that the non-custodial parent pays a flat percentage of his or her net income to the custodial parent, based on how many children need supporting. That is about it. There are various “what if” scenarios that the current system just does not take into account. Two of these include the following:

  • Does it take into account the amount of time the child actually spends with the custodial parent? No.
  • Does it take into account the fact that the custodial parent may have a much higher income? No.

The new system, called an income shares system, will include additional factors, like those above, in the determination of each parent’s child support obligation.

Check back soon for the second installment of this series, where we will be discussing this new system.

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