What Changed About Child Support in Illinois in 2017?

Posted on November 27th, 2019 by Danielle Giannola

Before July 1, 2017, Illinois calculated child support payments based only on the non-custodial parent’s net income. The non-custodial parent had to pay a certain minimum percentage of his/her income to the custodial parent. That percentage was determined by how many children the couple had (20% of income for one child, 28% for two children, etc.). Under this old law, it didn’t matter how much money the custodial parent made.

However, a new law went into effect in Illinois on July 1, 2017. The new law switches to an “income shares” model, which looks at a wide variety of factors, not just the non-custodial parent’s income. Now, the court considers factors like parenting time, alimony payments, health insurance premiums, mandatory retirement contributions, and union dues when calculating each parent’s income for the purposes of child support. At Giannola Legal LLC, our family law attorneys in Cook County, Illinois, and the surrounding areas, can run child support calculations during your consultation to determine if the change effects your child support, whether you are paying or receiving.

What is the Income Shares Model?

Under the income shares model, the court starts by calculating how much money would go towards childcare if the parents were still living together. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has published a table to help the court make this calculation. Then, the court divides that amount between the parents based on their relative incomes.

For example, let’s say Mom and Dad have three kids. Mom makes $4,000 per month and Dad makes $2,000 per month. Together, Mom and Dad’s income is $6,000 per month. Looking at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ table, Mom and Dad would spend $1,889 taking care of the children every month if they were still together. Mom makes 2/3 of the combined monthly income, so she’ll be responsible for 2/3 of the $1,889, or $1,259.33 per month. Dad makes 1/3 of the combined monthly income, so he’ll have to pay 1/3 of the $1,889, or $629.66 per month. *This example is for illustrative purposes only – you should always consult a licensed attorney for help calculating child support payments in your specific situation.

What does this mean for me?

If you’re still paying child support under an order entered before the new law went into effect, it may be to your benefit to ask the court to recalculate your obligations under the new law. However, the new law by itself is not enough for the court to modify your child support payments – you’ll need to show some change in circumstance/ ability to pay (either yours or the other parent’s) before the court will reconsider. Contact one of Giannola Legal LLC’s trusted family law attorneys in Cook County, Illinois for a free consultation to discuss how this law may or may not benefit you.

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