Part 1: Is Illinois due for child support reform?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

Almost two years ago, the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee made recommendations on changing how Illinois calculates child support payments. Currently, 38 other states have already reformed the models used in the 1980s to determine child support, but Illinois is not among them. The state does not appear to be motivated to act quickly on updating its outdated child support system. Many fathers are no doubt very interested in seeing some change on the state level when it comes to child support issues.

One doctoral student at DePaul University who studies divorce and fathers’ rights and wellbeing issues said more awareness is needed on the subject of child support reform. The model currently used by the state is called “percentage of obligatory net income,” which requires the non-custodial parent to pay a flat percentage based on the number of children and her or his net income. This system fails to recognize the income of the custodial parent or the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the children.

This system is simply out of sync with the rest of the country, said the chairman of the Children’s Rights Council of Illinois. The council advocates for a cooperative approach to co-parenting. The newly proposed model looks at the income of both parents as well as considers how much time the children spend with the non-custodial parent. This system would take a more balanced approach to calculating child support payments. Just because parents decide to divorce does not mean one parent loses financial responsibility for their children.

Both parents must bear some financial obligation to their children, not just one parent as the current system seems to suggest. The newer system is more rational economically and could result in less conflict and subsequently fewer custody fights in the long run. Data from other states that have updated their support models show a decrease in the number of conflicts involving child custody. Since this issue appears to be gaining some ground with Illinois lawmakers we will continue this topic in our next post later this week.

Source: The DePaulia, “Seeking child support reform in Illinois,” Callie Bretthauer, Feb. 3, 2013

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