Many families in Illinois are just learning about the new “income shares” model for child support that took effect on July 1, 2017. As we have previously discussed, Illinois child support used to work in such a way that the custodial parent paid child support to the noncustodial parent. This was known as the “percentage of obligor net income” model. Now, however, the state uses an “income shares” model. This means that the net incomes of both parents are taken into account. The law was reshaped to reflect the model used in many other states, but it also reflects the relatively recent changes to Illinois child custody laws. Rather than using terms like “child custody” and “visitation,” the law has shifted to using terms of “parenting responsibilities” and “parenting time” to reflect the close and important relationship between parents and their children.
So what do these changes mean in practice? In other words, what does the income shares model look like, and how do courts consider the income of both parents in making child support determinations?
Guidelines for Calculating Child Support Under the Income Shares Model
The guideline calculation for the income shares model of child support is initially the same for all parents regardless of income or situation. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides information about the new income shares model and how calculations work. Once the guideline amount of the child support obligation is determined, it can be adjusted based on factors that are specific to a particular family’s situation. Let us go through the way the calculation works:
- First, the court combines the adjusted monthly net income of each of the parents;
- Second, the court looks at the Illinois income shares schedule and determines the specific amount of the child support obligation as if both parents were still living in an intact household (this figure is based on the number of children);
- Third, the court will determine each parent’s percentage contribution to that total support obligation, taking into account the total amount of parenting time as well as other significant factors about each parent’s income and parenting duties.
Parenting Time and Other Considerations That Impact Child Support Percentage Obligations in Chicago
If you want to calculate the amount of the child support obligation, it is relatively easy for parents in Chicago to calculate the total child support obligation, but it can be much more complicated to determine the percentage of each parent’s obligation without the help of a family law attorney.
How would you calculate the total child support obligation? Let us give you an example:
- Parent #1 has a total monthly net income of $4,000, and Parent #2 has a total monthly net income of $2,000. The court would add this income together to get a total of $6,000 per month in total net income. Then, it would turn to the income shares schedule. According to the schedule, when the parent's combined net income is between $5,975.00 and $6,024.99, the monthly support obligation for the child is $1,053.00. That number increases to $1,585.00 for two children, $1,889.00 for three children, $2,110.00 for four children, and so forth.
When a court calculates the percentage of each parent’s obligation, it takes into account a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Parenting time schedules and the total number of overnights with each parent;
- Whether one of the parent’s current net monthly income is at 70 percent of the poverty line;
- Whether one of the parents is unemployed; and
- Whether one of the parents is underemployed.
The court then adjusts the percentage of each parent’s obligation accordingly.
Contact a Chicago Child Support Lawyer
Do you need assistance with child support? An experienced Chicago child support attorney can help. Contact Arami Law to get started.