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Four Scenarios Using Illinois' New Child Support LawIn July, Illinois enacted a long-anticipated overhaul of its child support payment law. Whereas the previous system always placed the financial burden on the party with less parenting time, the income shares model more equitably splits the parenting cost between the parties. The court combines the parents’ net monthly incomes and calculates the percentage of the combined incomes that each parent’s individual income accounts for. The court consults a chart that quantifies the expected monthly child-related expenses, based on the number of children and combined incomes. Each parent is responsible for paying for a percentage of the child-related expenses that equals the percentage that his or her income makes up of the combined incomes.

In most cases, the parent who is allocated a majority of the parenting time will still receive child support payments from the other parent. However, the amount will vary more than it did under the previous system, depending on:

  • If the recipient parent has a greater income than the paying parent; and
  • If the parenting time is split so that each parent has the children for at least 40 percent of the time during a year, which is called Shared Physical Care.

To help explain the new income shares model, here are four child support scenarios. In each scenario, the parents have two children and a combined net monthly income of $5,000:

Modifying Child Support Payments with New Illinois LawChild support payments are generally recognized by divorcing spouses as a necessary part of their shared parental responsibilities. Parties in a divorce are more likely to argue about the value of child support payments one spouse receives. Courts will consider the needs of the children and the financial status of each parent to determine an appropriate amount. However, needs and finances can change, and it sometimes is appropriate for parents to modify the child support arrangement.

Determining Payments

Starting July 1, Illinois will use a new measure called income shares to determine what percentage of the children’s basic support amount each parent is responsible for. Each parent’s net income is calculated, which is the gross income subtracted by necessary living expenses and taxes. The two net incomes are combined, and the parent with the greater share of the income will proportionately pay his or her share of expenses associated with the children. Courts will also take into account whether there is a shared parenting arrangement, in which children spend at least 146 nights a year with each parent. In this situation, each parent’s child support obligation is multiplied by the percentage of time he or she is responsible for the child. If the parent with lower income has a larger share of the parental responsibility, the parent with the higher income will pay the difference between the two amounts.

child college expenses in illinois, kane county child support lawyerThe subject of your child’s future college expenses and who will be responsible for them following the end of your marriage can be difficult to address, especially in the midst of an impending divorce. Whether you and your spouse discussed the funding of your child’s education early on in your marriage or did not discuss it at all, you may be wondering who will be responsible for paying tuition and other expenses once you are separated.

Who Pays for What?

While preparing for your child’s education may not be at the forefront of your mind during the divorce process, there are certain discussions you can have with your spouse and attorney to ensure your child’s education is secure when the time comes for them to attend college. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act works in favor of your children and their higher education. Revisions to Illinois state family law in 2016 enabled courts to order a parent to pay for the child’s college if the child is no longer living at home but attending school. Before either parent is ordered to contribute a certain amount to college expenses, however, there are multiple factors that the court takes into account:

Posted on in Child Support

Kane County child support lawyersWhile very few people would dispute the appropriateness or the need for child support, there are differing opinions regarding how support payments should be determined. For many years, Illinois law based child support calculations primarily on the income of the supporting parent and the number of children needing support. Beginning next summer, however, the state’s approach will be changing to one that is seen by many as more equitable since it accounts for both parents’ income and the actual cost of raising a child.

Income Shares Child Support Model

Last summer, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure several years in the making. The new law provides a totally updated model for determining a parent’s child support obligation. The method is known as “income shares” and is currently in use in more than three dozen other states. According to the income shares model, the combined income of both parents is used to determine a “basic support amount,” or the amount that the couple would spend on raising their child if they had remained in the same household. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has been tasked with developing a table for determining this amount as a percentage of the parents’ combined income.

Kane County family law attorneysIn almost every aspect of a divorce proceeding, you and your spouse have the freedom to reach an agreement on your own, without interference from the court. There are certain elements, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and child support, that the court will review before the agreement is entered as part of the judgment, but the court will only make changes if necessary. Once an agreement has been approved and entered by the court, you cannot change your mind about the agreed upon terms. As a Knox County woman recently discovered, it is vitally important to be certain that your agreement meets your needs before it is signed and presented to the court.

In re Marriage of Eastburg

The Third District Court Appellate Court in Illinois released its ruling last week on a case involving a child support agreement between divorcing parents. Shortly after their divorce in December 2006, the couple in question originally agreed that the father would pay $511 bimonthly in child support, allegedly equal to 28 percent of his net income. As time went on, the mother would petition for an increase in payment to correlate to the father’s increase in income. Most recently, in May 2015, the couple agreed that, based on the father’s 2014 income, he should pay $721 bimonthly.

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