In the fall of 2016, the Illinois legislature passed a bill revising child support law under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Previously, child support was based on certain percentages of the non-custodial parent’s net income depending on the number of children. This method was criticized for not accurately reflecting the costs of raising a child and for unfairly allocating costs between parents. The new child support laws, as of July 1, 2017, eliminated the former percentages-method in favor of the income share approach, which is viewed as a fairer calculation of support, resembling the support the children received from each parent prior to the marriage’s breakdown.
Child support is now calculated based on information that concerns more than the income of one parent. The Income Shares Model includes income from all sources, including spousal maintenance (alimony), to determine each parent’s net income; government benefits, like social security, are excluded from net income. The new law utilizes primarily two formulas in calculating net income, a standardized tax amount formula or an individualized tax amount formula, each offering its own calculation. The standardized formula considers both parents as individual income tax filers who claim a dependency deduction; the individualized formula, on the other hand, considers the actual filing status of both parties. Once the net income amounts are determined, they are combined and matched to the corresponding schedule to determine the basic support obligation. The parent, then, who has a majority of the parenting time receives the support payments. Overall, the premise of these calculations is to produce a fair and accurate representation of the costs of child-rearing.
These changes to the law took effect July 1st of this year, scrapping the statutory provisions that existed previously. An understanding of the revisions discussed above is crucial for individuals that are parties to a case involving child support.
If you would like more information on this topic or to schedule a free consultation to discuss how the change in law may affect your child support obligation, or the amount that you currently receive in child support, please contact Lavelle Law at 847-705-7555.