Child Support

Definition

A financial contribution paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child, until said child’s emancipation.

Determining Child Support

Illinois  law had traditionally provided for the calculation of child support based upon a percentage of the net income of the non-residential parent.  Beginning July 1, 2017, the entire statutory scheme for child support in Illinois has changed.

Child support will now be calculated with consideration of the incomes of both parents, and, in some instances, with consideration of the amount of time that each parent spends with the children in his or her care.

The child support  model is called “Income Shares,” and it matches more closely with the child support provisions of most of the other states.  It begins with the notion that each parent has a obligation to provide for the support of the children, and the statute provides for a set child support amount, based  upon the combined net incomes of the parents.

The Illinois  Department of Healthcare and Family  Services has published a table, establishing an exact child support figure for each combined net income amount, ranging from $0.00 combined net income to $30,000.00 combined monthly net income.

As an example, consider a divorcing couple with two minor children, who will live primarily with the mother.  The parents’ combined monthly take-home pay is $8,500.00, with the father earning $5,000.00 and the mother earning $3,500.00.  In this example, the father is earning 58.8% of the combined net income, and the mother is earning 41.2%.

According to the table issued by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, child support for two children with a combined monthly net as set forth in this example, would be $1,963.00 per month.  Of this sum, the father would be responsible for payment of 58.8%, or $1,154.00 per month, and he would be obligated to pay this amount to the mother.  The mother would  be responsible for the remaining monthly child support obligation.

Adjustments may be made to these support calculations if the Father has the children overnight for 40% or more of the time, or if there is a maintenance obligation, or if either parent has an obligation to provide support for children not of this marriage.  The child support obligation may be further supplemented with an obligation to contribute toward the children’s medical insurance, uncovered medical expenses, and child care expenses.

In some instances, the Court may determine that the statutory child support calculation is not appropriate for the family in question.  In that instance, the Court will have  the authority to deviate from the statutory amount and set child support at an amount more appropriate for the particular circumstances of the case.

While the new child support statute takes effect on July 1, 2017, most existing child support obligations will not be affected unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the time of the issuance of the prior child support order.

Duration of Support

In most (but not all) instances, the parent paying child support is obligated to provide child support until the child is emancipated by turning 18 years of age (or graduating high-school, whichever comes later), or by other statutory factors.  A support obligation for a child may, however, be extended beyond an emancipation event in certain circumstances.

Useage and Accounting

For the most part, child support is utilized by the receiving parent to provide food, clothing, shelter and the like to the minor children of the parties.  A non-custodial parent may also contribute towards additional expenses incurred on behalf of the parties’ children above the regular support obligation.  In normal circumstances, the parent receiving child support does not need to provide an accounting of how the child support is being spent.