The Good, the Bad, and the New Illinois Child Support Law

On July 1, 2017, the method of calculating child support in Illinois changes.  If this is a good thing or a bad thing really depends on which side of the equation you are sitting.

Under the previous statute, which is still in effect until 7/1/2017, child support is calculated based on a percentage of the net income of the parent making the child support payment.  Although a court can deviate from this formulaic method of calculating child support payments, in practice the courts rarely deviated, and it was safe to say that child support would be based on a percentage of the payer’s net income as follows:

Number of children                Percentage of Net

1                                                                20%

2                                                                28%

3                                                                32%

4                                                                40%

5                                                                45%

6 or more                                                 50%

In this example, you have 2 parents, 1 child, and the child spends a majority of time with the Mother.  Mother earns a net income of $4,000.00 per month and the Father earns a net income of $6,000.00 per month.

 

Mother            Father

Income                                                 $4,000.00        $6,000.00

(+/- Support)                                         1,200.00        (1,200.00)

Total household support                  $5,200.00        $4,800.00

Under the new law there are 3 steps to arriving at a child support award.  First, the net incomes of both parents is determined (either by use of the Gross to Net Income conversion table produced by HFS or using the individual calculation procedure outlined in the statute) and those amounts are then added together.  Second, use the table produced by HFS to determine what the average amount is spent on supporting the appropriate number of children based on the combined net incomes of the parents.  Third, divide that average amount spent supporting the appropriate number of children between the parties based on the percentage of net income each parent contributes to the total net income.  The parent who does not have the majority of time with the children pays their portion to the total support to the other parent, and the parent who has a majority of time with the children is presumed to spend their portion of the total support on the child/children.

Using the same example as set forth above:

Mother            Father              Combined

Income                                           $4,000.00        $6,000.00

Combined Income:                                                                            $10,000.00

Support on Combined Income:                                                        1,445.00

Proportionate Division:                  578.00             867.00

(+/- Support actually paid              867.00            (867.00)

Total household support         $4,867.00        $5,133.00

The statute change is intended to bring consistency and fairness to the amount of child support any given child receives based on their parent’s net income as well as to promote settlement between the parties.  It is difficult to see how the new statute will promote settlement between the parties as our legislature is merely substituting one formula for another.

As the new law divides the obligation to provide support for the child between the parents, in cases where both parents work a payer parent can expect a significant decrease in the amount of support paid.  Also, as the table created by HFS is built on the assumption that as the net income of a couple increases, the amount spent on supporting their children will decrease as a percentage of net income, as combined net incomes increase that decrease will become more and more significant.

The new law also provides for an additional downward adjustment in child support payments for payer parents who have parenting time with the children for 146 or more overnights in a year.

Finally, the new law provides that the new law going into effect is not a basis for changing child support, but rather, there must be a separate change in circumstances before a parent can go back to court in order to modify child support.

To contact a reliable, skilled, and professional lawyer to learn more about the new child support law, call the Law Office of Warren G. Sylvester, P.C. at 630-232-7306 to schedule your free consultation.