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2017 Illinois Child Support Changes

An In Depth Look

Child Support Law ChangesOn July 1, 2017, Illinois’ new child support law went into effect. Under this new law, child support orders in the state are established according to a method that considers both parents’ incomes and the percentage that each contributes to a combined family income. This is known as the income shares method.

If you have an existing child support order that was established under the old guidelines, it will remain in place unless you choose to modify the order. The same rules still apply for child support order modifications, such as the requirement that parents wait at least three years from the order’s establishment to modify it and that they demonstrate how changed circumstances necessitate the modification. Your modified child support order will then be developed in accordance with Illinois’ new guidelines.

The Income Shares Method

The first step to establishing a child support order under the income shares method is to determine the parents’ combined net income. A gross to net income conversion table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will be used to determine each parent's net monthly income, and these amounts will be added together to reach a combined income. Then, the court will calculate the percentage share that each parent contributes to the combined net income.

Using the combined net income as a guide, an income shares chart provided by the Illinois HFS will be used to see how much a family bringing in that amount spends, on average, on its children based on the number of children in the household. This is known as the Basic Support Obligation. Each parent's percentage share of the combined income will be applied to the Basic Support Obligation to determine how much of the amount each parent is responsible for. The figure that reflects the non-custodial parent’s percentage of the Basic Support Obligation is the amount of child support he or she will be required to pay to the custodial parent.

This income shares chart provides guidelines for families earning up to a combined net income of $30,000 per month. For parents whose incomes exceed this amount, the courts will need to take unique approaches to determine fair child support amounts.

Illinois’ New Formula for Child Support Involves Parenting Time in its Calculation

Illinois’ 2017 changes to its child support law mark the first update to this law in more than 30 years. Previously, one parent was considered the primary caregiver, and the other parent could be required to pay child support. Under the old guidelines, the noncustodial parent paid a percentage of his or her net income based on the number of children he or she had to support, regardless of the actual amount of time children spend with each parent.

Now, each parent's parenting time with their children is considered when determining their child support amount. When one parent has his or her children less than 40 percent of the time (fewer than 146 overnight stays each calendar year), child support is determined using the method described above. If each parent has the children for at least 40 percent of the time, this is considered Shared Physical Care, and additional calculations are required. In all scenarios, though, the parents’ combined net income and each parent’s share of that income is considered.

In cases of Shared Physical Care, child support is calculated as follows:

  • The Basic Support Obligation and each parent's contribution toward this amount are multiplied by 1.5 to determine each parent's Shared Physical Care Support Obligation.
  • Each parent's Shared Physical Care Support Obligation is multiplied by the other parent's percentage of overnight stays with their children. The resulting figures will be each parent's Shared Care Child Support Obligation.
  • The smaller figure will be subtracted from the larger figure, and the result will be the amount of child support the parent with the larger Shared Care Child Support Obligation will be required to pay to the other parent.

Work with an Experienced Kane County Family Lawyer

If you are considering filing for divorce, establishing a child support order with your child’s other parent, or modifying an existing child support order, work with an experienced family lawyer to ensure that the new order is in your child’s best interests and complies with the new Illinois law. To learn more about the new law and how it can apply to your case, contact our team of passionate Kane County family lawyers at Goostree Law Group today to set up your free consultation in our office.

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