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New child support law changes calculations in Illinois

Child support laws define what can and cannot happen in the courts. They also help determine how much money parents receive on behalf of their children once they separate.

In the past, there have been various ways to calculate child support. Today, as of July 2017, Illinois will calculate it differently. The law will apply to new cases only, unless an older case is modified because of a change in circumstances.

The old law stated that if one parent was a primary guardian, then the other would pay support. That could mean that a parent with a child 51 percent of the time could receive child support from the other parent, even though their time was shared relatively evenly.

Now, Illinois plans to calculate support based on parenting time as well as the total income of each parent. The law states that if you have your child over 146 nights but less than six months of the year, you spend at least 40 percent of your time with your child. If that describes your situation, you only need to know that you'll spend less than you used to in most cases because you see your child more of the time.

If you see your child less than 40 percent of the time, you'll pay more. On the other hand, if you see your children the same amount of time as the other parent, then the only child support calculated is based on your income.

The changes are complicated. It's important to talk to your attorney before you modify a child support order, especially if you plan to do so with the new law in mind.

Source: Chicago Now, "Illinois Child Support Law Changes Today," Michael Helfand, July 01, 2017

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