As of July 1, 2017, Illinois' child support laws will be drastically changing. Under the current law, the person paying support (payor) is typically the parent who has less parenting time with the child than the other parent, or the parent who makes significantly more income than the other parent. The payor is required to pay a certain percentage of their net income to the parent receiving support based upon how many children the parties have together. For instance, a person with one child would be required to pay 20% of their net income as and for child support, whereas a person with two children would be required to pay 28% of their net income as and for child support. Therefore, the current law calculates child support by looking solely at the payor's income, not both parties' incomes.
However, as of July 1, 2017, Illinois will be changing to a “shared income” model, which calculates child support by looking at both parents' income. Under a basic “shared income” model, Courts are required to look at both parties' incomes and then use pre-determined tables to calculate how much money that family would spend on their child or children per year had the parents not separated. The Court will then allocate the amount of support to each parent based upon the percentage of their combined net income that each particular parent earns. For example, say party A earns $60,000.00 net income per year, whereas party B earns $40,000.00 net income per year. The parties' combined net income is $100,000.00, with party A earning 60% of the $100,000.00 and party B earning 40% of the $100,000.00. If the table determines that party A and party B would spend $30,000.00 per year on their child had they not separated, party A would be responsible for 60% of the $30,000.00, and party B would be responsible for 40% of the $30,000.00. As a result, party A would have a child support obligation to party B of $18,000.00, or 60% of $30,000.00. The idea is that both parties have an obligation to support the child, so both parties' incomes should be considered in determining how the child is supported.
Unfortunately, it is unclear what kind of “table” the Courts will be looking at to determine how much each family would spend on their child or children per year and what kind of guidelines the Courts will need to follow once those tables are established. The law going into effect on July 1, 2017 merely states that the “Department of Healthcare and Family Services shall adopt rules establishing child support guidelines which include worksheets to aid in the calculation of the child support award and a table that reflects the percentage of combined net income that parents living in the same household in this State ordinarily spend on their children.” Therefore, it is up to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to come up with these tables, and how the child support will ultimately be calculated, based upon both parent's incomes. If these tables and guidelines are not established prior to July 1, 2017, there will technically be no law for enforcement of child support as of July 1, 2017. If you have any questions regarding the new Illinois Child Support Law and how it affects your case, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.