Last July Illinois changed the child support law.  Now payments are based on how many overnights each parent has with their child as well as the joint incomes of both parents.  There is a table that shows what payments should be based on these factors as well as the number of kids that you have.

Nobody was sure how this was all going to work out and it’s still not 100% settled as some aspects of the law are being challenged at the Appellate Court.  But I asked a Chicago family law attorney his thoughts on the law and here are some of the highlights he gave us:

  1. Many parents in custody cases are trying to get to 146 nights with their kids to try and lower their potential child support payments.
  2. In cases where one spouse is getting permanent maintenance on 20+ year marriages and the maintenance is being reviewed, child support payments are going down because the maintenance is being considered as income.
  3. Many cases are getting rejected when the changes in income are relatively minor.  Essentially Judges are rejecting the cases and applying the old law even though if the case was brand new the payments would be much less.  That is a big area of appeals right now so time will tell how this shakes out.
  4. In cases where modifications to child support are being made, it’s very rare to see one where payments are going up.  So in most cases if you are paying support you’d want to consider a modification, but if you are receiving it you’d want to sit tight.
  5. Some parents aren’t doing a great job of documeting their actual overnight time.
  6. The same issues of people being paid under the table still exists and is being used to try and hide income and lower payments.

It’s been only nine months since the new law was put in to place so you can expect that a year from now we’ll have a much clearer picture on how things are working. If you have any questions or would like a referral to a Chicago area child support attorney, please call us at (312) 346-5320.  All calls are free and confidential.  While we don’t promise a result, we do promise that every attorney we recommend has tremendous experience and a great track record.