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How child support formula changes may help parents

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average noncustodial parent pays about $430 in child support each month. That translates to about $5,160 a year. However, a change to Illinois law may lower that amount for parents paying child support in the state.

Under the new law, child support payments would take several factors into account such as how much the custodial parent makes in a year. It would also take into account how much time a child spends with each parent. The child's health care expenses would also be taken into consideration under the new formula that was signed into law in August 2017. The old formula required noncustodial parents to pay a set percentage of their income based on how many children they had. A parent with one child would pay 20 percent of his or her income to the custodial parent.

Noncustodial parents with four or more kids would pay 40 percent of their income in child support payments. These payments would not change unless either side asked for a modification. Under the new system, parents who were paying set amounts plus health insurance expenses for their children may pay less each month. One man said that this could help free up money for future costs such as college tuition for his twin daughters.

Child support payments may be an important part in helping to protect a child's best interest. Paying for food, shelter and other basic needs may help the child grow up to be a self-sufficient adult. When possible, a parent may negotiate a support agreement outside of what the state recommends a child receive each month. However, a judge will generally need to approve that agreement before it can become official.

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