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child supportBy Tara Brewer

Special to DadsDivorce.com

Child support ensures the child’s needs are met. Its goal is to maintain a child’s standard of living as if the marriage or relationship were still intact. 

However, many fathers have argued that the payments are unfair, leaving them very little to survive on their own. 

A Chicago Tribune article reveals that Illinois residents may soon have an upcoming remedy for this problem as state officials are pushing for a change in how child support is calculated.

The new child support formula is known as the "income shares" formula. This formula considers each parent’s income and assigns a percentage of total cost depending on each parent’s earnings. Currently, 38 other states have adopted the new child support formula.

The current child support formula doesn’t reflect the realities of many modern families. Many states use the "percentage of income" formula.

This formula calculates child support by taking a flat percentage of the parent’s net income, based on the number of children being supported. It accounts for both parents having the same income and recognizes when a child splits time between parents.

How Much Should You Be Paying?
Child Support Calculators

According to the DadsDivorce.com article "Breaking Down Child Support," courts have little discretion in setting the amount of child support to be paid. If your salary significantly changes annually, the judge may ask for your last three years of tax returns. The judge, then, averages them to find a gross income. However, if the party is unemployed, the judge can adjust the gross income to be that of minimum wage. 

Child support can possibly be modified when there are substantial and continuing change in circumstances, such as:

* You experience a substantial change in income;

* Your child begins attending school full-time, thus eliminating the need for daycare expenses;

* Your child goes off to college, depending on your state’s child support emancipation laws. (Read "Age Of Emancipation In Your State")

If you do not reside in a state that utilizes the "percentage of income" formula and you would like to inquire about a child support modification, please contact a Cordell & Cordell office to discuss your rights.


Comments (7)Add Comment
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A Sensible Decision
written by Quickie Divorce, January 16, 2012
We already have such a system in the UK and it makes sense.

Following a divorce or separation, the amount of maintenance that the non-resident parent needs to pay is calculated in accordance with their income.
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written by John McCunningham, January 16, 2012
Is child support 'fair' when you have no visitation rights?
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written by Anonymous, January 17, 2012
This is such an interesting article, and I hope Illinois will adjust sooner, rather than later. The flat rate is a ridiculous assumption. I do hope that the General Assembly takes into account other considerations as well, such as when Downward Deviation would occur. Also, would those of us already paying support be eligible for modification under new laws?
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written by Jacks2, January 27, 2012
It's not fair.. I have been forced to file bankruptcy, move in w/my parents and rely on food pantries since my divorce in 2008. I was unlucky enough to have my divorce final prior to the economic collapse. Since then my income has gone down, my health insurance has gone up and the -ex seems to be rolling in cash.
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Not Fair
written by A Wo-Man, November 05, 2012
Yes this happen to me too, I'm out of money due to child support. Now they want to take my drivers license, car, home, etc. I'm paying over 62% child support. 20% in taxes left with less than 15% to live off of. If you do the math with bills, rent, gas prices, car insurance, it's not even that it's about a negative -$500 which puts you in an arrearage.
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It needs to take account of other factors
written by Toni Freeman, January 17, 2013
Child support formualae in whatever form need to take into account other factors in my view such as number of nights spent with the other parent and a discount should be applied. This happens in England and Wales. The only problem with this is it can affect the amount of time one parent gets with the kids, as the other parent may take the monetary factors into account.
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is it true?
written by Tammy , January 23, 2013
I have a friend who is paying an exorbitant amount of money in child support. He makes a substantial living, but so does the ex. He, in addition, is paying the daycare costs. Isn't that what the child support is for? Why is he forced to pay that in full each month when he is already outing child support. This poor guy is living off of ramen noodle soup. Now, when he doesn't pick up the kids for his weekends, she sends nastygrams. How can he keep those two kids with him if he can't feed himself? He has recently run up credit cards just to get the essentials. I really feel like he is getting rooked!

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