The State of Illinois changed the way the Courts determine Child Support on July 1, 2017 from a “Percentage of Obligor Net Income” model to the “Income Shares” model. Income Shares is a guideline provided by the legislature (and is used in the majority of other states) that allows the Court to consider both parents’ income when determining the appropriate child support amount.
Illinois has developed a table that takes into consideration common assumptions and standard of living in order to derive how much parents would typically spend on a child if the parents were living together, given the parents’ income.
The Department of Human Services provides a table to compute Gross Income to Adjusted Net Income. Based on these figures, a total combined income and total child support amount are established. That total child support amount is then divided by the Parents ‘share of income’, to determine how much the payor Parent must provide for child support.
For example, if Parent 1 earns $60,000 per year net income and Parent 2 earns $40,000 per year net income, the Court considers Parent 1 to make 60% of the parties’ combined income, and Parent 2 to make 40% of the combined income. Therefore, Parent 1 will be ordered to pay 60% of the total child support amount to Parent 2. Parent 2 (assuming they are the custodial parent) is assumed to put his or her 40% of the total child support amount into the child, and thus no exchange of money occurs from Parent 2 to Parent 1.
Every $50 or so change in income (including the payment of child support or spousal support) can effect the total child support amount, and so it is important to hire an attorney who can accurately calculate your gross income to compute the correct amount of child support that you should be receiving or paying for your child(ren).
This guideline approach also takes into consideration if Parent 1 (the payor) has more than 40% of overnights (146 overnights per year) and an additional calculation is then necessary. Courts may use discretion to determining the total child support amount for Parents with a combined gross income of over $500,000.
As with maintenance, child support may be modified upon a substantial change in circumstances (i.e. lost job, promotion, emancipation, inheritance, etc), however a change in the Model used by Illinois is, in and of itself, not sufficient to change a previously ordered child support award.
This is an oversimplification of a very complicated process that Ruggiero & Associates, P.C. are experienced, knowledgeable, and proficient to assist you with today and throughout your season of giving or receiving child support.