Changes Ahead for Child Support in Illinois
Most parents are aware that in a divorce, a parent is typically required to make payments of child support to help with the costs of raising a child. It may come as a surprise to learn that the method for calculating child support payments in Illinois has not changed very much in the last several decades. Even last year's sweeping family law reforms, which updated the state's approach to divorce and child custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities—failed to address the issue of child support. Beginning this summer, however, child support calculations in Illinois will be handled much differently than they are today.
Understanding the Current Law
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) currently directs a court to calculate child support orders as a percentage of the paying parent's income based on the number of children to be supported. The court is granted limited authority to deviate from the set percentages due to special circumstances of each individual case. As written, however, the statute only considers the paying parent's income. The current law does not account for the recipient parent's income or time that the supporting parent spends with his or her child.
On July 1, 2017, an update to the IMDMA will take effect that changes the method of calculating child support in Illinois to a model known as “income shares.” Under the income shares model, child support is determined as a percentage of the combined income of both parents based on the number of children to be supported. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is in the process of developing economic guidelines that estimate how much of a couple's combined income would be spent on the child if the parents remained together. This figure is called the basic child support amount.
Expenses related to healthcare, education, and other relevant costs may be added to the basic child support amount as the circumstances dictate. The new law also allows the amount to be adjusted to factor in shared parenting time when the child spends more than 146 overnights per year with each parent.
The total amount will then be divided between the parents in accordance with each parent's percentage of contribution to their combined income. For example, if a father makes $4,000 per month, the mother makes $2,000, and the hypothetical child support amount totals $1,000 per month, the father would be responsible for two-thirds of that amount or $667.
Child Support Questions?
The new law regarding child support is sure to create concerns as the calculations will soon become more complex, but an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can provide the guidance you need. Contact MKFM Law today to schedule your confidential consultation with a member of our team. We will help you understand the amended law and how it may apply to your unique situation.