Calculating Child Support Under the New Law

new law, Rolling Meadows child support attorneysLast month, a new law took effect in Illinois that dramatically changed the way that family courts are expected to calculate child support obligations. In the eyes of many throughout the state, the new law was long overdue, as the previous method only took into account the income of the paying parent. Today’s world is very different the one that existed 30 or 40 years ago, and few families rely on a single income—especially those who have gone through a divorce.

The Old Method

Under the previous guidelines, child support payments were typically set as a percentage of the paying parent’s income based on the number of children being supported. A parent supporting one child would pay 20 percent of his or her net income, 28 percent for two children, and so on up to 50 percent for six or more children. The amount could be adjusted by the court for circumstantial reasons, but the formula was the benchmark. Paying parents were granted virtually no consideration for shared parenting time nor the income of the recipient parent.

How the Law Works Now

The biggest change in the law was the shift from considering one parent’s income to considering both parents’ income. To determine the paying parent’s child support obligation, the court will first establish the combined net income of both parents. Net income is the total of all income from all sources with deductions made for taxes, previous support payments, and certain other costs addressed in the law.

Based on the couple’s combined net monthly income, the court will use tables provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to find the family’s basic support obligation. The tables were developed based on extensive research and estimate the amount that two adults with a particular income would spend on their children if they still resided in the same household. For example, the tables provide that an intact family with a monthly combined net income of $5,000 would spend $943 on one child, $1423 on two children, and $1701 on three children.

With the basic support amount established, the court will then divide the basic support amount between the parents. This is done by multiplying the basic support amount by the percentage of each parent’s contribution to determine each parent’s portion of responsibility. To continue with the example from above, if a father earned a net monthly income of $3,000, a mother earned $2,000, and they had two children together, the father would be responsible for 60 percent of $1423, which is about $854. The mother would responsible for the remaining amount.

As long as the child is not under the care of a non-parent guardian, the court would then order only one parent to pay. In a vast majority of cases, the paying parent will be the one with less parenting time.

Call Us for Help

If you have questions about the new child support law, one of our experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorneys can help you find the answers you need. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



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