As of July 1, 2017, child support in Illinois divorce cases will be determined by the income shares model. Child support orders issued prior to this date remain unchanged using the old model unless either parent requests a modification using the new guidelines. Ultimately, it is the objective of the new model to help reduce conflicts over child support obligations and more accurately reflect the required financial contributions of each parent towards raising children.
Understanding the Income Shares Charts
The charts used to determine child support obligations were compiled by the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) in April 2017. These charts take into account the actual child-rearing costs in Illinois and will be updated every four years based in part on data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Calculating Child Support Obligations
The law allows parents and their child support attorney to use one of two tax-based formulas when determining their net income. The first is a simplified tax formula which assumes each parent as individual tax filers who can claim a single dependent exemption.
The second option is an individualized tax formula. This formula takes into account the parent’s actual filing status, all of their dependency allocations, and any tax credits they qualify for.
These formulas establish each parent’s net income which is then combined. This combined income and the number of children the couple has is then aligned to the corresponding bracket on the income shares schedule.
Impact of Parenting Time on Child Support Obligations
Parents who assume a greater share of parenting time will continue to receive child support. However, the actual amount of support they will receive depends on their own percentage of the child support obligation under the income shares model. This new model aims to establish a more equitable and fair representation of each parent’s contributions.
When both parents spend significant amounts of time raising their children, the shared parenting adjustment can be utilized. This is a two-part calculation that is used when both parents have 146 or more overnights with their child(ren) per year.
The first step of the calculation involves multiplying the support obligation by 1.5 to account for the additional child-rearing expenses. The second step is to determine each parent’s child support contributions. The amount of child support owed is then adjusted based on the percentage of time the other parent spends raising the child(ren).
Collecting Unpaid Child Support
Parents who do not receive child support payments should speak with a child support attorney as soon as possible. The sooner action is taken, the sooner a child support order compelling payment can be granted by the court. Under no circumstances should parents attempt to secure an informal agreement with noncustodial parents regarding overdue child support obligations.
For those unable to make court-ordered child support payments, it is important to seek a modification as soon as possible. This is crucial in situations where an individual has lost a job or had a significant change in financial status. Until the modification is approved, individuals are required to meet their child support obligations under existing orders.
Contact an Illinois Child Support Lawyer
At Erlich Law Office, we understand the delicate balances involved in parenting and raising children post-divorce. We invite you to contact our child support attorney at (630) 538-5331 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific needs.