New child support law to take effect in Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

New child support law to take effect in Illinois

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WSIL -- If you receive or pay child support in Illinois, get ready for some big changes starting July 1. Lawmakers overhauled the formula for child support, bringing it in line with what other states have done for years.

The new law would eliminate hard percentages and require both parents to submit their income to come up with a fair payment. Parenting time also goes into the mix.

Lawyers say the new law could get a little messy. For years, child support got calculated in hard percentages.

"In January 2016, Illinois rolled out these huge changes and restructured the divorce code," said attorney Daniel Kay.

Now lawmakers want the net income of both parents thrown into the mix, plus their time spent caring for their children.

Lawyers fear that will complicate matters.

"It is going to be a little bit complicated. There's simply more variables and things to look at and consider in making that consideration," added Kay.

Two parents making a similar salary could result in lower child support.

"You're talking about someone who earns a lot of money every year. Their net income is going to skew the final result, but it's fair," explained Kay.

Kay says it gets sticky when you calculate "shared parenting time."

The more time a child spends with a parent, the less that parent might have to pay.

Kay says that could result in custody battles with parents trying to get to a 146-day threshold, rather than focusing on a child's well being.

"They're going to look at that 146 day mark and say to themselves, "If I can get that baked into my joint-parenting agreement, then I can enjoy a further reduction in my support obligation,'" added Kay.

Kay says the changes have both good and bad sides.

"It's going to be a little messy on the roll out and may take a little time for everybody to get comfortable with it, but I think we are going to be fine on the back side of it," added Kay.

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