Study findings show respondents think child support laws unfair

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

There are a couple of points that emerge with clarity from a recently released study on child support that for a period of 10-plus years examined the views of persons from both the United States and England.

Here’s one: Child support is a difficult and highly nuanced topic, with legal schemes governing the subject matter varying across jurisdictions.

In many states, for example, the income of both parents — that is, the custodial and noncustodial parents, respectively — is taken into account by a judge determining support amounts. In other states, conversely, as well as in the United Kingdom, courts do not factor in a custodial parent’s income in a child support matter.

And here’s another: The authors of the study — both American university professors — say that most of the people interviewed, both in the United States and in England (and there were thousands), believe that child support calculations and payments lack fundamental fairness.

One of the authors says that the study’s findings reflect that “the existing child support law is not consistent with the basic application of fairness that most people have.”

What many members of the public reportedly think is wrong is an over-emphasis on the income of a noncustodial parent that is coupled with the too-often failure of courts to adjust support payments based on income adjustments for the custodial parent.

Study respondents also showed a willingness to adjust support payments based on changes in a noncustodial parent’s income to a much greater degree than what was allowed by law.

One commentator on the study points out there is some necessary limitation on its applicability, given that every support case entails unique circumstances and, often, a number of factors that a judge must consider in weighing an equitable outcome.

That is certainly true in Illinois, where courts consider both parents’ incomes and are guided in their judgment by a number of statutorily enumerated guidelines that play into calculations and awards.

When applied to a given case, the guidelines can be complex. So, too, can a petition to modify an existing support order. Persons with questions or concerns regarding any aspect of child support might reasonably want to contact a proven divorce attorney for advice and diligent legal representation in this important family law area.

Related Posts