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The Law Offices of Brian A. Grady, P.C.
Attorney At Law

Itasca Bank & Trust Building
Second Floor
9 East Irving Park Road
Roselle, IL. 60172
Phone:(630) 351 - 4466
Fax: (630) 894 - 2528
E-Mail: bgrady@illinois-custody.com

 

CHILD SUPPORT


On July 1, 2017, HB3982 took effect and completely changed how child support is determined for parents. Prior to this date, Illinois determined child support based on the percentage of income model which considered the net income of the child support payer, or non-custodial parent, without taking into account the income of the custodial parent. In other words, the non-custodial parent was ordered to pay a fixed percentage of their income towards child support:

20% for one child;

28% for two children;

32% for three children;

40% for four children.

However, now that the law has changed, the amount paid for child support may fluctuate based on certain factors like parenting time and employment, which may allow for a more equitable division of support.

Under the new law, the assumption is that when a family is in intact, each parent contributes to the expenses and the care of the children. Because of this, Illinois has adopted the Income Shares Model, where both parents have a duty to provide financial support. The rationale of the new bill is that the children should receive the same amount of support as if the family were still together under one household. Additionally, the new law provides the court with further guidance on how to consider supplemental factors such as the residential parent’s income, the parent’s additional expenses, working potential or working history if unemployed or underemployed, and parenting time. Based on the income shares model, both parents are responsible for their share of support based on their relative net income, which may cause some parents to either pay more or less than they currently do under the old “percentage of income model.”

To determine the amount of support each parent will pay under the income shares model, first, the net incomes for both parents need to be calculated. “Net income” is the the income after state and federal taxes, as compared to “gross income,” which is the value before taxes are taken out. Secondly, these net incomes are combined to determine the Total Family Income (TFI). Thirdly, it must be determined what percentage of income each parent contributes to the TFI. Fourthly, a chart, provided by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS), is used to compare the TFI to the average intact family (AIF) with similar combined net income and number of children. Then, multiply the resulting number provided by the chart by the percentages for each parents’ contribution to the Total Family Income. Lastly, the judge may adjust for additional expenses such as child care, extracurricular activities, insurance, education, and similar needs of the children. (750 ILCS 5/505-3.8) The resulting numbers are each parent’s child support obligations.

However, this calculation may be offset if the parents are engaged in “shared parenting.” In shared parenting situations, each parent has the child for at least 146 overnights per year, which constitutes at least 40% of the time with the children for the calendar year. If this is the situation, the base amount of total child support, which is found on the chart provided by DHFS, is multiplied by 1.5, which means the total amount of support to be allocated to child support by both parents will increase. This increase is to account for duplicate expenses and the cost of transporting the children between the two residences. This new value is called the “shared care support obligation,” and allocated based on each parent’s percentage of contribution to the combined net income as before. Then, each parent’s child support obligation is multiplied with the other parent's percentage of parenting time to determine the child support obligation for each parent. Ultimately, this means that time spent with the children will become a major factor. The more time spent with the child or children, the less the child support obligation. But, this does not become the case until the 146 overnights threshold is met.

It is also important to note what qualifies as income under the new law. The new bill specifically states what is business income for the purposes of child support obligations. Business income is the “net business income from the operation of a business, which is the gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to carry on trade or business. If a parent that works for a company which reimburses that parent for a company car or meals, this will be also be considered income. While savings account withdrawals will not be considered income because the owner already has possession of the money, stock distributions may or may not be considered income for support purposes depending on certain factors. Lastly, gifts and trust disbursements will be considered income, while Tax Returns will not.

Finally, the new statute states that its enactment will not constitute a significant change in current child support obligations. Passage of the new law, in and of itself, will not be a sound basis to modify child support obligations. In order to modify, there still needs to be a substantial change in circumstances other than the new change in the law in order for the court to consider modifying the child support order. Certain circumstances such as a reduction in salary may warrant the court to modify the order. If the court chooses to modify, the modification will be based on the new law, and the judge will use the new guidelines outlined