New Illinois Child Support Guidelines Have Been Released

New child support guidelines and the rules they set forthEffective July 1, 2017, there is a new method for calculating a parent’s child support obligation in Illinois.  Instead of the old method of calculating support based on a percentage of the obligor parent’s net income, Illinois has moved to the “Income Shares” model which has been adopted by many other states.  The Income Shares Model is seen as a more equitable way of calculating support because it takes into consideration the net income of both parties and apportions the obligation amongst the parties proportionately.

What Is The "Income Shares Model"?

In order to determine the net income of the parties, the first step in the process is determining what the gross income of each parent is.  The new child support law defines gross income as “all income, from all sources,” before any adjustments.  The only income which may be left out are means-tested public benefits like SSI, SNAP, or TANF, and amounts received for support of other children in the household.  The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has put out a Gross to Net Income Conversion Table to determine the net monthly income from the net monthly gross income, which can be found here.
The next step is relatively simple.  Add the net incomes of both parents together, and use the Department’s Income Shares Schedule based on Net Income Table to determine the total support obligation of the parties.  The obligor party’s support obligation is based upon that parent’s pro rata share of the total obligation.  For example, if the father makes $3000 net a month, and the mother $2000 net a month, their total net income is $5000.  The Income Shares Chart provides that the total obligation for one child is $943 a month.  The husband’s share is 3/5 of the total obligation, or $565.80.

What Does This Mean For Me?

To be clear though, this is the general way of calculating a support obligation, and there is much room under the statute for deviation if the court deems deviation is appropriate.  There are exceptions for parents who have more than 146 overnights with their kids a year, split custody, and others.  There are also changes under the new law for medical support and premiums, extra-curricular activities, and college expenses.  A party cannot use the existence of the new calculation method alone as justification for modification of a pre-existing support order.  In order to change a support obligation using the new method, a party must demonstrate that there is a substantial change in circumstances which requires modification of an existing obligation.  

This article only touches upon the most basic principles of the new child support law.  It is not intended to be used as legal advice concerning the facts of any particular case.  If you have any questions regarding the establishment or modification of a support obligation, please call the attorneys at Tapella & Eberspacher LLC to set up an appointment for a consultation.