No matter where you live, your state has regulations in place regarding child support obligations. The laws establish guidelines as to what a non-custodial parent can expect to pay after a breakup or divorce. There are several methods a state may use to determine the amount of support to be paid, which all take different factors into account. Unfortunately, many feel the model currently in use under Illinois law is bit outdated and not quite as fair as one particular model being used by many other states.
Percentage of Obligor Net Income
The support model currently used in Illinois is called ‘percentage of obligor net income. Under this model, the guidelines consider only two variables: the number of children to be supported; and the income of the non-custodial parent. Using a sliding scale based on the number of children, the support obligation is a specific percentage of the payor’s net income. The court is allowed some discretion to consider the specific details of each family’s situation, but short of the court finding the amount inappropriate for particular reason, the law’s calculation is entered in the order.
Federal law require each state to review its support laws every four years. In 2010, the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee conducted the review and recommended that Illinois change to the ‘income shares’ model. By far the most popular throughout the country, 38 states currently base their support guidelines on income shares. The method of calculation first consider family size and income information to establish the amount that parents who are together spend to support their children. This amount is then divided between the parents based on several factors, leaving each parent responsible for a portion.
Advantages Over the Current Model
Many see income shares as better system because of the factors it considers when pro-rating support amounts. Percentage of obligor net income models do not make any considerations for custody arrangement where children regularly spend significant time with both parents. Income shares, however, does allow for shared parenting to have an impact on the calculations. Likewise, income shares provides for consideration of parents with uncommonly high or low income, where no such consideration is provided under percentage of obligor net income.
Recommendation But No Change Yet
The Child Support Advisory Committee felt the income shares model was a much ‘more equitable approach to computing child support. However, legislation has yet to reach the Illinois General Assembly. As the last review was completed in 2010, another is due to be done by the end of this year. It is reasonable to assume the same recommendation will be made again, and perhaps legislative action will begin in the near future.
If you live in Illinois and have questions about your child support order, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can answer them. We can help get you the information you need and ensure your rights under law are protected. Contact us today.