Illinois is schedule to enact a new child support law on July 1 that will switch the state to a income shares model for calculating support payments. The state currently uses a percentage of obligor net income model, but income shares is considered a more equitable method. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for creating the guidelines for the new child support model, but is not required to complete it by the time the law goes into effect. From the language of the law, divorcing parents can expect several changes in how child support payments will be determined.
Illinois’ current child support system requires a parent to pay a set percentage of his or her net income, based on the number of children being supported. The new system eliminates that percentages scale in favor of a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes:
- The parents’ net incomes are combined as if they are part of the same household; and
- The parent without primary allocation of parental responsibility makes support payments for a percentage of the children’s expenses that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined net incomes.
The IDHFS still must create a table that specifies how payments are calculated, but the formula is expected to more fairly divide the parenting expenses. Theoretically, if a parent is required to pay child support and earns 40 percent of the combined net income, his or her payments would equal 40 percent of the children’s expenses.
The law stipulates other guidelines that may be needed to determine child support payments:
- Any spousal support payments resulting from the divorce are part of the recipient’s net income when calculating the combined income for child support payments.
- If a parent is unemployed, his or her potential income will be used, based on work history and qualifications. The minimum monthly payment is $40.
- The amount of time children stay with each parent can change how child support is calculated. If the children spend at least 146 nights with each parent during a year, it is considered a shared parenting arrangement. The parents’ child support obligations are multiplied by the percentage of nights the children spent with them. The costs offset, and the parent with the higher child support amount will pay the difference.
Determining Child Support
With the uncertainty about how the new child support law will be enforced, it is important to have strong legal guidance. A Kane County child support attorney at Van Larson, P.C. will stay abreast of the new law and how it may affect your child support settlement.