In July 2017, Illinois will drastically change the method by which family courts determine child support. Traditionally, one spouse, the one with whom the minor child or children do not primarily reside, was ordered to pay support based on a computation using his or her income. The resources of the parent with whom the minor child or children reside were not taken into account. However, on July 1, 2017, Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will be revised to compute support “based upon the parent’s combined adjusted net income estimated to have been allocated to the child if the parents and children were living in an intact household.” 750 ILCS 5/505 (a) (1) (D). Thus, Illinois will join the majority of states in using an income shared approach to child support. (This formula will also apply to Paternity cases under the
As one can imagine, the computation is more complex than the old formula. The Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services is charged with creating guidelines which include worksheets for calculating child support and a table showing the average amount spent on children per combined income (as compared to the average household in the state of Illinois). The Department has yet to come out with these required materials, which will prove problematic if not available when the law takes effect.
The statute uses a multiplier based on the amount of time a child spends with a parent. Specifically, the statute provides that if a child spends 146 or more overnights with a parent, the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to calculate the shared care child support obligation. After that, child support is netted out between the parents by comparing the percentage of time the child spends with each parent. This magic 146 number will likely be a source of litigation over parenting time.
As with the current child support laws, the court has the right to allocate additional monetary obligations between the parties to cover daycare, extracurricular activities, uncovered medical expenses, and other expenses regarding the minor child.
Notably, the adoption of the new law itself does not create a substantial change in circumstances sufficient to bring old support orders back to court. Nonetheless, similar to the logjam when the new maintenance guidelines were introduced, it is likely that there will be a flurry of litigation, leading to some delay in calculating and effectuating new orders for support.
Contact our experienced family law attorneys to help you with the new child support laws!