What You Need to Know About the New 2017 Child Support Guidelines in Illinois

The new Illinois Child Support Law officially took effect on July 1, 2017. So what’s different? Under the old law, child support was based on the net income (gross income, minus taxes and other deductions) of the child support payer and the number of children the payer is supporting. For instance, it was 20% of the payer’s net income for one child, 28% for two, 32% for three, and so on. Additionally, the payer parent was considered the non-custodial parent. This means that the parent who was the primary caregiver did not pay support, even if the custody was actually split fairly evenly (e.g. 49/51) or if one parent had sole custody.

Fast Facts About the New Law

  • Under the new law, Illinois child support is now calculated based on the combined net incomes of both parents.
  • Where the old law used flat percentages based on the number of children, the new law calculates support by determining each parent’s net income and combining them together.
  • Once combined, the court will determine what percentage of this total is represented by each parent’s net income.
  • After determining the combined total, it is plugged into an income shares chart (developed by the state of Illinois), which determines the amount that the child is entitled to receive.
  • The resulting number from the chart is then multiplied with the percentage represented by the parent’s income. This final number reflects the amount that each parent owes.

Additional Factors

The new law also considers a number of other factors that take into account the reality of the circumstances of the situation, like:

  • If you are currently paying court-ordered child support for another child in an unrelated case or paying alimony to the other parent, those amounts will be deducted from your gross income in determining your net income.
  • Further, health insurance premiums are added into the calculation and divided between the parents based on their percentages of the combined income. Under the new system, the custodial parent, or the parent with the majority of parenting time, is entitled to claim the tax dependency exemption for the minor child, unless otherwise agreed or previously ruled to the contrary by a judge.
  • If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, support calculations are based on potential income which is determined by looking at work history, available jobs, and average earning levels in the community.
  • Finally, when parents have close to equal amounts of parenting time, the actual number of overnights that each parent has with the children will be taken into consideration when calculating child support.

Previous child support orders

Under Illinois law, if you are already paying child support, your support order can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. However, the 2017 change in law will not in and of itself be considered a substantial change. This means that you cannot file to modify a previous support order based solely on the change in law.

Effective and experienced family law attorneys

Lake Cook Legal Solutions understands the importance of a fair and quick resolution regarding child support issues, as well as the sensitive nature involved in such a dispute. For more information on how we can help you with your child support dispute, visit us at www.lakecooklaw.com or call us at (847) 387-5559.

Written by Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions has been helping people throughout Lake, Cook, McHenry, and DuPage counties since 2012. We focus our practice on matters involving Illinois families—namely Family Law and Estate Planning.