What You Should Know About the New Child Support Law in Illinois

What You Should Know About the New Child Support Law in Illinois

Last fall, Governor Rauner signed a new statute that changes the way child support is calculated in Illinois. It’s important for Illinois residents to be aware of these changes because, should a child support issue arise, parents will be equipped with information to take proper measures that are best for them and their family. Here is what you should know about the new law.

What is the new child support law?

The new law will take an “income shared” approach. There are three main factors for this model:

  1. Basic Child Support Obligation– Under the new law, the court is instructed to “calculate child support based upon the parent’s combined adjusted net income estimated to have been allocated to the child if the parents and children were living in an intact household.” Guidelines for how much money should be allocated for the care of the child will be put forth by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
  2. Shared Parenting – The new law allocates for “shared parenting” situations, which means each parent has the child for at least 146 overnights per year. For this situation, basic child support is multiplied by 1.5 to account for additional costs to care for the child, including transportation between the two residences.
  3. Additional Expenses – These are determined by the court and are added on top of basic child support obligation. These can include extracurricular activities, medical/health care expenses, education and child care costs.

Can you explain how this will work?

For example, there are two children and it is determined that $50,000 is spent on the children annually. Parent A makes 60 percent of the combined income and Parent B makes 40 percent, so Parent A would have to pay 60 percent of the $50,000, which is $30,000 annually.

What is the law right now?

The current law states that the non-residential parent must pay a certain minimum percentage of their net income, regardless of the net income of the residential parent. It is 20 percent for one child, 28 percent for two, 32 percent for three, 40 percent for four, 50 percent for five and 50 percent for six or more children.

When does the new law go into effect?

The new law goes into effect July 1, 2017. Until new legislation takes place, child support is still calculated by a formula based on the non-residential parent’s income. For parents that already have a child support order before July 1, the new law may not automatically impact your current order.   

Why are the child support laws changing?

The new changes to the child support law came about after many non-custodial parents felt that they were overpaying for child support and custodial parents were getting a windfall. The new model is meant to level the playing field and take into account both parents’ income. The basic premise of the law is that both parties have a responsibility to support the child, and the child should receive the same support regardless if the parents live in the same household or not.

How should parents comply with the new rule?

If you are a parent who has already settled a child support case, then the new law may not override your current standing. For those entering a child support case or currently have a support order, you will need to hire a legal professional that can help guide you through the process. Your attorney will assist in gathering necessary information for your case.

For child support cases, it is crucial to have an informed family law attorney on your side who understands both the old and new laws pertaining to child support. If you are looking for professional legal representation for your child support case, please feel free to contact us.

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