Illinois’ New Child Support Law

Commencing July 1, 2017, Illinois’ child support laws were significantly modified. Previously, under the old statute, the law simply took a percentage of the payor’s net income in determining child support. Since July of 2017, however, the old law has been replaced with an income-sharing model. In this model, both parent’s incomes are used in determining child support. This new system allocates the child’s expenses based on both parent’s incomes and how many overnights the child is spending with both parents. The goal behind the new law was to make child support awards more consistent. Under this new model, both parent’s incomes are taken into account when calculating support and each parent is responsible for paying his or her prorated share of the child’s support.

Differences Between The Old Law and The New Law and How it Works

The biggest difference between the old law and the new law is that under the old law, the court only considered the payor’s net income. For the most part, the payee’s income was not considered. Today, however, the court will look at both parent’s incomes. The application of the new law is as follows:

  • The court determines the gross income of each parent
  • The court determines the net income of both parents, using either a standard tax amount in accordance with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Standardized Net Income Conversion Table, or utilizing individualized tax amounts that reflect actual tax information.
  • Add both parent’s net incomes together in order to acquire the combined adjusted net income
  • Divide each parent’s net income by the combined net income to determine each parent’s percentage of the combined net income
  • Classify the basic child support obligation
  • Multiply the basic child support obligation by each parent’s percentage of combined adjusted net income to figure out each parent’s contribution toward the basic support obligation
  • The parent with less parenting time pays his or her share of child support to the parent with the bulk of the parenting time
  • Determine if any additional expenses (school activities, child care, medical expenses, etc …) are to be divided between the parents

Another major difference between the old law and the new law lies in the deductions previously permitted to determine the net income of a parent. Under the old law, a parent could deduct mandatory retirement contributions from his/her gross income. Under the new law, this deduction has been removed.

The new law does not allow for the deduction of union dues.

The new law does not allow a deduction for dependent and individual health insurance premiums.

The new law also allows for support to be adjusted when there is shared parenting. Shared parenting happens when each parent has a child for at least 146 overnights (40% of yearly overnights).

What Happens if One Parent is not Working?

If one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court can impute income to that parent. The income imputed to such a parent will be based on that parent’s work history, job opportunities, qualifications and income producing assets, if any. Illinois courts have long held that a parent cannot voluntarily quit a job or take a job far below his/her earning capacity merely to decrease his/her child support obligation. An Illinois appellate court stated, “if a court finds that a party is not making a good-faith effort to earn sufficient income, the court may set or continue that party’s support obligation at a higher level appropriate to the part’s skills and experience.” In re Marriage of Sweet, 316 Ill.App.3d 101, 105, 249 Ill. Dec. 212, 217-218, 735 N.E. 2d 1037, 1042-43.

Do You Have a Child Support Issue?

If you have a child support issue, you should work with a reputable lawyer who knows and understands the law. The lawyers at Taradash Given, P.C. have the knowledge and experience necessary to make sure that you and your children are protected financially. Feel free to call us at 312-775-1020 (there is no charge!) or contact us online to ensure your rights are protected.

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