Illinois Child Support Lawyers

Daughter hugging mother

The formula for calculating child support in Illinois was recently modified. On July 1, 2017, Illinois began using an “Income Shares Model” to calculate child support. In brief, the new Illinois child support rules consider the combined income of both parents and the number of children to be supported when determining child support. This formula is not unique to Illinois, as many other states currently use some form of the Income Shares Model. Nonetheless, the Income Shares Model is a stark contrast from former child support calculation methods in Illinois.

The experienced child support lawyers at Bolen Robinson & Ellis understand the Income Shares Model, and are here to help if you have a question concerning child support. If you are confused about the new Income Shares model, think the new Illinois child support law will affect you, or simply have a question concerning child support or a different matter involving a child, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Past Child Support Calculation Method

The past Illinois child support calculation was fairly simple. This method primarily determined child support amounts by taking a percentage of the paying parent’s net income. That percentage amount increases based on the number of children supported by the paying parent. In traditional custodial arrangements, courts often use the following guideline percentages to determine child support payment amounts:

  • One Child = 20% of payor’s net income.
  • Two Children = 28% of payor’s net income.
  • Three Children = 32% of payor’s net income.
  • Four Children = 40% of payor’s net income.
  • Five Children = 45% of payor’s net income.
  • Six or more Children = 50% of payor’s net income.

Those percentages are merely guidelines, and courts can and have deviated from them to account for expenses such as daycare or when parents have shared custody of the child. But notably absent from this calculation is any consideration of the non-paying parent’s income.

The New Income Shares Model

In the fall of 2016, Governor Rauner signed Illinois Public Act 99-0764. This Act modified two sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, creating the new Illinois child support rules. This new law took effect on July 1, 2017, officially changing Illinois child support calculations to the Income Shares Model.

As the new Illinois child support rules provide, one primary purpose of modifying Illinois’s child support formula in favor of the Income Shares Model is to calculate child support based on the amount of income that is “estimated to have been allocated to the child if the parents and children were living in an intact household.” Thus, the income of the parent paying child support, as well as the primary custodial parent is taken into consideration when determining how much each child shall receive.

After taking into consideration the net income of both parents, child support calculations will largely be based on scales developed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (“IDHS”).

Further, the time each parent spends with their child is now a consideration for determining child support amounts. The benchmark for shared custody under the new law is 146 nights per year. If both parents have at least 146 nights per year with the child, the court will take 1.5 times the amount determined by the IDHS and then allocate that amount based on the percentage of nights that each parent cares for the child.

To illustrate how the Income Shares Model may work in a hypothetical scenario, assume that IDHS has determined a basic child support obligation is $20,000 per year based on the combined annual income of a mother and father. The father has 40% of the time with the child, leaving the mother with 60% of the child’s time. Because the 146 day benchmark is met by both parents, the court will multiply $20,000 by 1.5. The result is a shared child support obligation of $30,000. The father’s child support obligation is determined by multiplying the mother’s percentage of time (60%) with the shared child support obligation ($30,000), resulting in $18,000 per year. Likewise, the mother’s child support obligation is determined by multiplying the father’s percentage of time (40%) with the shared child support obligation ($30,000), resulting in $12,000 per year. Thus, the father’s actual obligation equates to $6,000 ($18,000 – $12,000).

Contact BRE Law for a Free Child Support Consultation

The Income Shares Model is a somewhat dramatic change from the previous Illinois child support calculation method, and the experienced child support lawyers at Bolen Robinson & Ellis and are here to help you with any questions you may have. If you desire assistance with the new Income Shares model, think the new Illinois child support law will affect you, or simply have a question concerning child support or a different matter involving a child, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Published July 19, 2017

CategoryFamily Law

© 2016 BRE Law.