New Child Support Statute Takes Effect This Summer

Author 
André Katz

Four months from now, we will all be enjoying sunshine, warm weather, our beautiful beaches and of course, the Chicago Cubs. But for those going through a divorce, July could bring changes that are more significant than the weather.

The new Illinois child support statute (Public Act 99-764) takes effect in July of 2017, and will undoubtedly change child support obligations for Illinois parents.

André Katz is the co-Founder of the Chicago based law firm, Katz & Stefani, and served as the chairman of the committee responsible for the overhaul of the Illinois divorce laws (most which went into effect in 2016), including the new child support statute. Katz said he and his committee felt a need for the change because the child support formula was very outdated.

“In the last 20 years, the role of women has entirely changed, most notably in the workplace,” said Katz, who has been a divorce attorney for 27 years. “The former law gave no consideration of the child support payee’s income, typically the mother. In today’s world, there are many, many cases where the woman is earning more than her husband and still getting child support. The law needed to make child support a true obligation of both parties.”

According to Katz, the new statute implements a shared income model, allocating financial responsibilities to support the children based on each party’s net income.  Under the statute, a formula is applied that takes into account each parents’ respective income, and not just one as has been the case historically. 

“In the past, if both the woman and man were making the same amount of money, the husband was solely responsible for paying child support,” Katz said. “This is much more fair, as both parties are contributing their share of child support.”

Katz said there is a parenting time component factored into the new law, meaning the shared income model is designed to make adjustments on guideline child support amounts when both parents exercise 146 overnights or more per year with the child.

When asked how he thinks this new statute will benefit divorcing couples, Katz said it will improve compliance of child support payments and reduce hostility.

“I always believed that if both men and women felt court orders were fair, they would each comply,” he said. “The statute is no longer just looking at one person’s income, and because of that I believe there will be less anger and less resentment.”