The Illinois Legislature recently passed significant changes in Child Custody and Child Support Laws that affect anyone with children going through a divorce or custody battle despite the long standing state budget standoff that just ended.
Instead of asking who has child custody, we now ask who has parental responsibility? We must decide who will make decisions for the kids on education, religion, non-emergency medical matters and extra-curricular activities. In the majority of cases, parents can still agree to share decision making in these areas. In other circumstances, it might be more appropriate for one parent to be consulted but the decision making should still rest on the other parent or in extreme cases for there to be no consultation at all. When one parent is a substance abuser, for example, that may have to be the case.
In child custody cases, a crucial issue remains. Who will the kids live with the majority of the time or will the parents split parenting time 50/50 or have a schedule that is close to 50/50? Under the new child support law which is called “Income Shares” if a parent is with the kids more than 146 nights a year, that parent is entitled to a reduction in child support based on the percentage of time he or she is with the kids.
In child support cases, Illinois no longer simply takes a percentage of the income of the parent who does not reside with the kids. Now like 39 other states, child support is calculated taking to account the income of the other parent even if the kids are with that parent the majority of the time. If that other parent is with the kids more than 146 nights a year, not only is child support reduced based on the residential parent’s income, it is further reduced based on the percentage of overnights.
The new child support law only applies to cases where there has been no final child support order entered prior to July 1, 2017.
Because these laws are more complex, if you are going through a divorce or custody battle, it is advisable to consult an attorney. The Law Firm of Gabrielle S. Davis, PC can assist you in this process.