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Examining the Recent Changes to Illinois’ Child Support Laws

Posted on in Divorce

Examining the Recent Changes to Illinois Child Support Laws

Historically, Illinois has used a straightforward calculation to determine the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must pay to a custodial parent, basing the amount of support payments on a percentage of the paying parent’s income. That all changed in July of 2017, when a change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect. The new law can have a major impact on your Kane County child support case.

A Closer Look at the New Income Shares Model

The previous method of calculating child support obligations was unfortunately not always an effective model. The actual costs of raising a child were not considered, nor was parenting time or the receiving parent’s income. The new model takes all these factors into account. Spousal support, which may be awarded in some divorce cases, is also factored in, whenever applicable.

The Cost of Raising a Child

Raising a child is expensive, which is why it makes sense for child support to be based upon the real and actual costs of child rearing. The new child support law uses charts provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to determine a child support obligation that is based on the amount that would typically have been spent to care for the children if the parents had remained married.

Income of the Paying and Receiving Parents

Whereas the previous percentage model counted only the income of the paying parent, the new model considers also the income of the receiving parent. A basic support obligation will be determined using the combined income of both parents and the number of children being supported. The amount of this obligation is then divided between parents based on the percentage that each parent contributes to their combined income. This method is intended to provide a “fairer” amount of child support that is based on both parents’ ability to financially provide for their children.

Keep in mind, however, that spousal maintenance is also now factored into the formula as well. Child support is determined based on both parents’ net incomes, which is found using a gross to net income conversion table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Prior to determining parents’ net incomes, any maintenance that one parent pays will be deducted from their gross income, and maintenance that a parent receives will be added to their gross income.

Shared Parenting Time

Perhaps one of the most notable changes in the way that child support is now calculated in Illinois is that parents now receive a special consideration when they have nearly equal parenting time with their children. When each parent has at least 146 overnight stays with their children, this is called Shared Physical Care. In these cases, the basic support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to account for the added costs of parenting in two separate homes, and each parent’s portion of this obligation (according to their percentage share of the combined income) will be multiplied by the other parent’s percentage of overnights. Of the two resulting figures, the smaller amount will be subtracted from the larger amount, and the result will be the amount of child support which the parent with the larger amount will pay to the other parent.

Contact Our Kane County Family Law Attorneys

If you are planning on filing for divorce or need assistance with child support, contact Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C. for assistance. As one of the most respected law firms in the Chicago area, our Kane County family law attorneys can help you navigate the complex process of determining child support. Schedule a personal consultation by calling 847-695-2400 today.


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