The average child support payment in the United States is $430 a month. This means that a parent could pay up to $92,880 to support a child to adulthood. However, a new Illinois law introduces new variables that could determine how much a noncustodial parent actually pays. These variables include the custodial parent's income and how much time a child spends with the noncustodial parent.
For some parents, this could mean saving hundreds of dollars a month compared to their current payments. Under the old system, support payments were based on a percentage of a noncustodial parent's income. Those percentages ranged from 20 percent for one child to 50 percent for those who had six or more children to support. The money that a parent saves now may be used to help pay a child's college or other future expenses.
One judge in the state said that using the new formula is more fair because it takes the financial resources of both parents into account. However, the change to the law itself may not result in a child support order being changed. A parent will still need to show that the modification is based on an increase in income or a change in custody/visitation time.
Generally speaking, child support payments are designed to meet a child's basic needs while growing up. If a noncustodial parent is spending time with or providing shelter for a child, he or she may be able to ask for a support order to be modified. However, for an order to be modified, a parent typically needs to show that circumstances have changed since it was created. An attorney may be able to help a parent learn more about how that is defined by the state.