Before July 2017, the way child support was calculated in Illinois was considered by many to be outdated and ineffective. The previous method of calculating child support was based almost solely on the income of non-custodial parent—the parent with fewer parental responsibilities. These child support laws and calculation procedures were criticized for placing an unfair burden on the paying parent.
An Outdated Model
For several decades, Illinois child support payments were determined as a percentage of the paying parent’s income based on the number of children being supported. Many people found such a method to be inherently unfair for two main reasons. First, fewer families rely on a single income than they once did, especially in the wake of a divorce, but only one parent’s income was considered when calculating child support payments. Doing so failed to account in any real way for the child’s standard of living or the income of the parent with primary residential responsibilities.
The other main reason for the criticism was the old law’s lack of consideration for shared parenting time. For example, parents who had their children three nights a week were required to pay the same amount of child support as a parent that had parenting time infrequently or never. This meant that parents had to pay for their child’s meals, family outings, household needs, and other daily expenses during their parenting time on top of paying child support.
The New Law
The new guidelines for calculating child support were enacted on July 1, 2017, and utilize what is called an “income shares” model. Instead of assigning a flat percentage of income to be paid regardless of parenting time, the new model takes shared parenting into consideration. If a child spends at least 146 nights a year with a parent, this will be considered when calculating the parent’s child support obligation. The new system of calculating child support also takes both parents’ incomes into consideration.
The income shares model for child support is based on three main factors:
- Each parent’s income (including spousal maintenance), minus taxes and other deductible expenses;
- The amount of parenting time each parent enjoys; and
- Any additional costs that the child may incur such as child care costs or medical or health insurance expenses.
The calculations are more complex than they were previously, but with additional variables taken into account, the result is generally more equitable for both parents.
Let Us Help
If you are a parent with questions or concerns about any aspect of child support, you need legal guidance you can trust. The experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. will answer your questions and help create a personalized plan for your unique situation. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.