New Child Support Guidelines Coming to Illinois
For several decades, the law regarding child support in Illinois has been rather one-sided. Despite the law stating that either or both parents could be required to make child support payments, the statutory calculations seemed to suggest that only one parent would be required to do so in the vast majority of cases. In nearly every situation, the parent who was not awarded primary custody of the child—also known as the non-custodial parent—would be ordered to pay a set percentage of his or her income as child support to the other parent.
Thanks to sweeping reforms passed in 2015 and which took effect in 2016, the state’s approach to child custody has been updated—including the elimination of the term “non-custodial parent” and other such titles. The methodology for calculating child support, however, was largely left untouched until this past summer when lawmakers passed a new measure that will transform child support considerations in the state.
A growing number of recent studies, including an international one conducted by a team at Arizona State University, have shown that laws regarding child support do not often match up with what most people consider fair. This was found to be especially true for laws that focused primarily on one parent’s income. Many such studies suggest that the general public believes the income of both parents should affect the amount ultimately paid in child support. This is exactly what the new law in Illinois will require.
Beginning in July this year, family courts in Illinois will apply what is known as the “income shares” model for determining a parent’s support obligation. The new formula—while more equitable to both parents—will, in all likelihood, be much more complex for most cases. Instead of simply ordering a payment as a definitive percentage of the supporting parent’s income, the new law requires an in-depth examination of the entire situation.
At the risk of oversimplifying the new law, it is important to understand the basics of how it will work. To start, the court will consider how much of the parents’ combined income would have been spent on the child in an intact family situation. This amount may be increased or decreased based on relevant factors such as shared parenting, health insurance premiums, and educational costs. The final amount is then divided between the parents as a percentage based on each parent’s income relative to the combined total. For example, if the parents’ combined income is $200,000 per year with one parent earning $150,000, he or she would be responsible for 75 percent of the support amount.
Child Support Questions?
As family courts around the state prepare to put the new law into effect, questions are sure to arise. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney to get the answers you need. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 and schedule a confidential consultation today.