PRACTICE AREAS

CHILD SUPPORT IN ILLINOIS

 

Beginning July 1, 2017, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will begin to use a new “income shares” model to calculate child support for new cases. Child support orders established before July 1, 2017, will not change.

The income-shares model works on the principle that both parties have an obligation to support their children, and that the children should receive the same amount of support they would receive if both parties resided in the same household.

Prior to July 1, 2017, child support in Illinois was calculated primarily based on the income of the parent who owes payments and the number of children affected.

The new income-shares model considers the typical costs to raise a child for a family at a similar income level to the income of the parents involved in each case.

If there are two incomes, both are added together to arrive at the amount needed to raise the child. Each parent's contribution is then calculated by applying the methods laid out by the new model/table. The portion owed by the parent who the child lives with is assumed to be paid because they reside together.

To calculate the income level used for the table, the income made by both mother and father from all sources is added up. Subtractions may be made for any support obligations that either parent already owes to kids or spouses from previous relationships. The resulting number is the net income that determines the basic support amount. Each parent is responsible for covering a percentage of the basic support amount equal to whatever percentage of the combined family income he/she earns.

This means that the non-custodial parent would have to pay the appropriate percentage of the total basic care obligation to the custodial parent.

In addition to basic support, other costs associated with raising children include medical care and health care, and extracurricular expenses. These costs may be added to the basic support obligation.

The parent paying support may also have some visitation time with the children. If so, it is assumed he or she will bear some costs during the time the child is visiting. The support obligation is thus reduced depending upon how often the child spends with the non-custodial parent.

Recent Blog Articles Regarding Child Support

7-15-18

Illinois Appellate Court holds that personal injury settlement awards are "income" for child support calculations. 

Illinois Child Support Law

 Sec. 505. Child support; contempt; penalties. 
    (a) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, dissolution of a civil union, a proceeding for child support following dissolution of the marriage or civil union by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, a proceeding for modification of a previous order for child support under Section 510 of this Act, or any proceeding authorized under Section 501 or 601 of this Act, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage or civil union to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for support. The duty of support owed to a child includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child. For purposes of this Section, the term "child" shall include any child under age 18 and any child age 19 or younger who is still attending high school. For purposes of this Section, the term "obligor" means the parent obligated to pay support to the other parent. 


        (1) Child support guidelines. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services shall adopt rules establishing child support guidelines which include worksheets to aid in the calculation of the child support obligations and a schedule of basic child support obligations that reflects the percentage of combined net income that parents living in the same household in this State ordinarily spend on their child. The child support guidelines have the following purposes:

            (A) to establish as State policy an adequate standard of support for a child, subject to the                             ability of parents to pay;

            (B) to make child support obligations more  equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment                     of parents in similar circumstances;

            (C) to improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts                    and the parties guidance in establishing levels of child support;

            (D) to calculate child support based upon the parents' combined net income estimated to have                  been allocated for the support of the child if the parents and child were living in an intact                       household;

            (E) to adjust child support based upon the needs of the child; and

            (F) to allocate the amount of child support to be           

            paid by each parent based upon a parent's net income and the child's physical care                                 arrangements.

       

 (1.5) Computation of basic child support obligation.

    

The court shall compute the basic child support obligation by taking the following steps:

            (A) determine each parent's monthly net income;
            (B) add the parents' monthly net incomes together to determine the combined monthly net                         income of the parents;

            (C) select the corresponding appropriate amount from the schedule of basic child support                          obligations based on the parties' combined monthly net income and number of children of                      the parties; and

            (D) calculate each parent's percentage share of the basic child support obligation. Although a                    monetary obligation is computed for each parent as child support, the receiving parent's                      share is not payable to the other parent and is presumed to be spent directly on the child.

     

   (2) Duty of support. The court shall determine child support in each case by applying the child                    support guidelines unless the court makes a finding that application of the guidelines would be             inappropriate, after considering the best interests of the child and evidence which shows                      relevant factors including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

            (A) the financial resources and needs of the child;

            (B) the financial resources and needs of the parents;

            (C) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or civil union not been                   dissolved; and

            (D) the physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs.

        

(3) Income.
            (A) As used in this Section, "gross income" means the total of all income from all sources,                           except "gross income" does not include (i) benefits received by the parent from means-                          tested public assistance programs, including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance to                        Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance                   Program or (ii) benefits and income received by the parent for other children in the                                household, including, but not limited to, child support, survivor benefits, and foster care                         payments. Social security disability and retirement benefits paid for the benefit of the subject                 child must be included in the disabled or retired parent's gross income for purposes of                           calculating the parent's child support obligation, but the parent is entitled to a child support                  credit for the amount of benefits paid to the other party for the child. "Gross income" also                        includes spousal maintenance received pursuant to a court order in the pending proceedings               or any other proceedings that must be included in the recipient's gross income for purposes of             calculating the parent's child support obligation.

   

       (B) As used in this Section, "net income" means gross income minus either the standardized tax amount calculated pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this paragraph (3) or the individualized tax amount calculated pursuant to subparagraph (D) of this paragraph (3), and minus any adjustments pursuant to subparagraph (F) of this paragraph (3). The standardized tax amount shall be used unless the requirements for an individualized tax amount set forth in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph (3) are met.

 (3.6) Extracurricular activities and school expenses.

    

The court, in its discretion, in addition to the basic child support obligation, may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to the child to contribute to the reasonable school and extracurricular activity expenses incurred which are intended to enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child.

 (3.7) Child care expenses. The court, in its discretion, in addition to the basic child support obligation, may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to the child to contribute to the reasonable child care expenses of the child. The child care expenses shall be made payable directly to a party or directly to the child care provider at the time of child care services.

            

(A) "Child care expenses" means actual expenses reasonably necessary to enable a parent or non-parent custodian to be employed, to attend educational or vocational training programs to improve employment opportunities, or to search for employment. "Child care expenses" also includes deposits for securing placement in a child care program, the cost of before and after school care, and camps when school is not in session. A child's special needs shall be a consideration in determining reasonable child care expenses.

(3.8) Shared physical care. If each parent exercises 146 or more overnights per year with the child, the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to calculate the shared care child support obligation. The court shall determine each parent's share of the shared care child support obligation based on the parent's percentage share of combined net income. The child support obligation is then computed for each parent by multiplying that parent's portion of the shared care support obligation by the percentage of time the child spends with the other parent. The respective child support obligations are then offset, with the parent owing more child support paying the difference between the child support amounts. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services shall promulgate a worksheet to calculate child support in cases in which the parents have shared physical care and use the standardized tax amount to determine net income.

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