On August 12, 2016, Governor Rauner signed Illinois House Bill (HB) 3982 which amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The passage of Public Act 99-764 created significant changes in child support obligations for Illinois families.
In July of 2017, the new rules on how to calculate child support in Illinois went into effect and has since created some confusion.
Here at O’Dekirk, Allred and Associates in Joliet, we understand that it’s hard enough dealing with the emotional fallout of ending a marriage, much less dealing with all the legal aspects of getting divorced. Now, determining child support has changed and created even more confusion.
Today, we’ll break down the new law to help you understand the changes better. And if you need more help, our attorneys are just a phone call away. We can help you figure it all out, as well as represent you as you navigate this difficult process.
The Income-Shares Model
Let’s take a look at this new model and how to calculate child support in Illinois. The new child support rules are based on the idea that both parents have a duty to support the children and that the children should receive the same amount of support they would otherwise enjoy if both parents lived together.
The purpose of the new rules is to create a state-wide standard of support based on both parents’ ability to pay. The goals are to make awards more equitable, make the court process more efficient, encourage settlements between the parents, give both parents a responsibility to support the child based on the children’s needs, and decide physical care arrangements of the children in determining child support.
For a long time, Illinois-based child support on the noncustodial parent’s net (after tax) income. It was calculated by percentages based on the number of children: 20%, 28%, 32%, etc. But now, Illinois child support will be a function of both parents’ incomes, using the income-shares model of calculating it.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHS) has developed a worksheet to help in child support calculations. This table that shows the percentage of combined net income that parents living in the same household normally spend on their children.
Using the benchmarks the IDHS has determined, each parent is allocated a percentage of child support responsibility based on their portion of the combined net income.
There are three main factors that are considered in the new income-shares model all of which affect how to calculate child support in Illinois.
- Basic Child Support Obligation – As we said, this is based on a combined value of child support owed by both parents together. This is divided proportionally between the parents depending on their individual contribution to the combined household net income. It’s calculated based on state guidelines, the Illinois schedule.
- Additional Expenses – There may be other costs that the court factors in on top of the basic child support obligation. These might be child care, extracurricular activities and medical or health insurance expenses.
- Parenting Time – Parenting time for each parent is a part of the new model. This will decide which parent gets child support. But we know that shared parenting situations may lead to some variations when calculating child support based on the new income shares formula.
Basic Child Support Calculations
Here is a general formula for how to calculate child support in Illinois:
(Basic Child Support Obligation x Percent Contributed to Combined Net Income)
(Additional Expenses x Percent Contributed to Combined Net Income)
= Total Child Support Obligation Per Parent
Now, here’s an example using the income-shares formula.
- Let’s say the parents have combined net income of $30,000 per year
- The father contributes $18,000 or 60% of the combined net income
- And the mother contributes $12,000 or 40% of the combined net income
- That means the father will likely be responsible for 60% of the basic child support obligation and the mother responsible for 40%
Now that the new law has gone into effect, the Illinois Child Support Estimator has been provided by the Department of Healthcare and Family services. Again, this is all an estimate as other factors can come into play prior to a final determination by the court.
Considering Parenting Time
Another change to the child support statute that affects how to calculate child support in Illinois is the codification of parenting time as a consideration. The current benchmark for shared custody is 146 nights or 40% of the time. If both parents have at least 146 nights, the court will now multiply the basic child support obligation by 1.5 and allocate it according to the percentage of overnights per parent.
This is a big difference in the way child support obligations will be determined. It’s possible this may add another layer to the child support argument if parents try to negotiate parenting time as a way to get a more favorable child support obligation amount. This already happens and the new rules may make it even more of a factor in divorce proceedings when children are involved.
But there are some unique situations that do not fit neatly into the formula. For example, how would the calculations work if one parent works days and the other parent works nights and they alternate caregiver functions to save childcare costs? In that case, using overnights may not be an effective way to determine the calculations. How that is handled is more complex, so an attorney may be needed.
Get Help with the New Law Today
Now that the new rules have been released, you may feel more than a little lost trying to figure out how to calculate child support in Illinois. By scheduling a consultation with our team at O’Dekirk, Allred and Associates in Joliet, your specific situation can be reviewed so that we can provide you with more details about the new child support calculations. Let us be your guide, advocate for your rights and make sure the new law is applied fairly for both you and your child. Call or contact us today.