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New 2017 Illinois Child Support Law Replaces Flat Percentages With More Complex Income-Shared Approach

Posted on in Divorce

divorce, Illinois divorce, divorce lawyer, divorce attorney, Wheaton divorce lawyer, Wheaton divorce attorneyIn 2017, a new Illinois child support law went into effect.

For Illinois child support payers, it is important to understand how three factors are the basis of determining child support payments: 1) the net income of both parents, 2) the number of children receiving child support, and 3) the amount of parenting time each parent enjoys with their children.  

The New Illinois Child Support Law is Effective as of July 1, 2017 

The new Illinois child support took effect on July 1, 2017, implementing the state legislature’s intent to put in place an income-shared approach to child support calculations.  Specifically, the law, as concerns parental income, contemplates the financial support the child would have received if the parents and child were still living together in an intact household. 

The philosophy underlying such an income-shared approach is one rooted in fairness—a desire to ensure that a child living in a no longer intact household receives the same support as would ordinarily be provided by parents living in the same household. 

Time, Income, and Percentages Under the New Illinois Child Support Law

Under the new income-shared approach to child support in Illinois, the parents’ income is the primary factor for calculating child support payments.  Fortunately, the state legislature has provided a definition, under 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3), of what constitutes income. Importantly, this definition, in addition to employment-based income, also includes spousal maintenance (alimony) received under a court order as income for the purposes of calculating child support. 

Gone are the flat percentages put in place by the old law. The starting point under the new law is the combined net incomes of both parents. Here, “net” refers to the income remaining after taxes and other deductions are subtracted from the gross incomes of both parents. The method for determining the parents’ net income has been simplified through the use of a Gross to Net Income Conversion Table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Once the parents’ combined net income has been calculated, the next step is to determine what percentage of the combined net income is represented by each parent’s individual net income. The parents’ combined income will be entered into an income shares schedule to determine the basic support obligation for the number of children being supported, and this obligation will be divided between the parents based on the percentage that each parent’s income contributes to the combined income.

In cases of Shared Physical Care, which occur when children stay overnight with each parent 40 percent of the time, or at least 146 days per year, additional calculations will be required. The amount of the basic support obligation will be multiplied by 1.5 to account for the increased costs of supporting children in two households, and each parent’s portion of the obligation will be multiplied by the other parent’s percentage of overnight stays. Of the resulting figures, the lower amount will be subtracted from the higher amount, and the difference between these figures will be the amount of child support that the parent with the higher amount will be obligated to pay to the other parent. 

What To Do if You Have Questions About Your Child Support in Illinois

While the 2017 Illinois child support law is more complex than the old law, its purpose is to improve the child support system for Illinois children and families.  If you have questions about your child support under the 2017 Illinois law, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney.

Source: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K505.htm 

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