Shared Parenting Time Now Affects Child Support Obligations

parenting time, Rolling Meadows family law attorneysOver the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about the new child support law in Illinois. As you are now probably aware, the state legislature passed a measure last year that took effect July 1, 2017, and changed how child support obligations are calculated in the state. The most impactful change brought about by the new law is the shift from considering just one parent’s income when calculating child support to taking both parents’ income into account. With that change alone, the new law would be more equitable than the previous version, but there are other factors that could also affect the calculations. For example, according to the new child support model, shared parenting time may now be considered when determining a paying parent’s obligation.

Previous Concerns

Under the previous child support law, paying parent’s obligation was based on two main factors—his or her income and the number of children being supported. The payment amount was, in most cases, a percentage of the paying parent’s income, using a table provided in the law. He or she would pay 20 percent of his or her net income for one child, 26 percent for two, on up to 50 percent for six or more children. The support obligation, however, was not affected by the amount of parenting time the paying parent enjoyed. As a result, a parent with 45 percent of the parenting time with his or her child could still be obligated to pay the same as a parent with 5 or 10 percent of the parenting time, presuming the same number of children and similar incomes.

An Updated Formula

The new law has amended that approach, at least for paying parents who spend at least 146 overnights (40 percent) with their children per year. Going forward, a family court judge must account for shared parenting time on several fronts. First, the basic support amount—the amount that an intact couple would spend on their children based on their combined income, as estimated the by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)—must be multiplied by 1.5 when both parents have at least 40 percent of the parenting time. This is to account for the extra expenses associated with maintaining two households for the child, and resulting amount is called the “Shared Physical Care Support Obligation.”

The shared support obligation is then divided between the parents in accordance with their percentage of contribution to the combined income total to determine each parent’s proportional share. To further account for shared parenting time, each parent’s proportional share is then multiplied the percentage of parenting time the other parent enjoys. The lower number is subtracted from the higher one to obtain the final support obligation for the paying parent.

An Illustrative Example

Consider a situation where a father of two children earns a monthly net income of $6,000, and the mother earns $4,000. In such a case, the basic support obligation would be $2,173. If the father has 40 percent of the parenting time and the mother has 60 percent, that amount would be multiplied by 1.5 to give $3,259.50. The father’s proportional share of $3259.50 based on income would be $1,955.70 and the mother’s would be $1,303.80. The father’s portion would be multiplied by the mother’s parenting time percentage (60 percent) resulting in an amount of $1,197.42 and the mother’s share multiplied by the father’s parenting time percentage would be $521.52. The difference between the two amounts would leave the father responsible for $675.90. If the parents did not share parenting time, the father’s obligation would be 60 percent of $2,173, or $1,303.80. Accounting for shared parenting time, in this case, reduced his support obligation by almost half.

While the numbers used in this example are taken directly from the tables provided by HFS, the exact calculations will vary on a case-by-case basis. To learn more about the new law and how it may apply your case, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows child support attorney. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



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