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b2ap3_thumbnail_custody2_640.jpgFor several decades, the law regarding child support in Illinois has been rather one-sided. Despite the law stating that either or both parents could be required to make child support payments, the statutory calculations seemed to suggest that only one parent would be required to do so in the vast majority of cases. In nearly every situation, the parent who was not awarded primary custody of the child—also known as the non-custodial parent—would be ordered to pay a set percentage of his or her income as child support to the other parent.

Thanks to sweeping reforms passed in 2015 and which took effect in 2016, the state’s approach to child custody has been updated—including the elimination of the term “non-custodial parent” and other such titles. The methodology for calculating child support, however, was largely left untouched until this past summer when lawmakers passed a new measure that will transform child support considerations in the state.

Public Opinion

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b2ap3_thumbnail_family-law2_600x400.jpgIf you are a divorced parent of a minor child, there is a very good chance that you currently pay or receive child support. It is the responsibility of every parent to help provide for their child’s basic needs, and child support orders are intended to formalize that obligation. There may come a time, however, where your existing order for child support no longer meets the needs of your family the way that it once did. When this happens, Illinois law permits either parent to petition the court for a modification of the existing order.

A Significant Change in Circumstances

There are many reasons that a support order modification may be necessary. Some are rather dramatic and sudden, while others are less abrupt. In most cases, a parent wishing to have a child support order modified will need to show that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the family. For example, if you are the paying parent and you are diagnosed with a medical condition that will severely impact your ability to earn a living, complying with your existing support order could soon become impossible. You could request a modification on the basis that your circumstances have changed substantially.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_College-Student_640.jpgIt is hard to believe that the current school year is already halfway over. Just a few short weeks ago, students of all ages were enjoying their summer break and, now, the fall semester has come and gone, at least in many districts. For high school seniors, the next few months will be full of preparations for college—applying to schools, making a selection, and scheduling their first classes. At the same time, parents of college-bound students will be faced with deciding whether or not to help their children with the costs related to their education. In certain cases involving divorced parents, such decisions may be left up to the court.

A Matter Between the Parents

Illinois law gives family law courts the authority to order one or both parents to contribute to their child’s college expenses, presuming that the parents are divorced or were never married to one another. Such contributions are considered a form of child support, despite the fact that the child, in most cases, is no longer a minor. The authority to order this type of support is based in the recognition that paying for a child’s education is often considered a financial element of a divorce settlement. This means that it is an issue to be settled between the parents, and a college-bound child cannot file a request for such support on his or her own behalf.

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