On July 1, 2017, Illinois underwent a major overhaul of it’s child support laws. Before July 1, child support involved taking a certain percentage of the payor’s net income for each supported child, specifically 20% for one, 28% for two, 32% for three, and 40% for four or more. Although the new system appears difficult to understand, the new laws actually help to create a fairer outcome than the previous laws allowed. The new laws help to make sure each parent pays the fair share of raising a child.
Now, both parents’ incomes determine the total amount of child support. Essentially, the new law tries to make sure the child can enjoy the same quality of life he or she would have experienced if both parents remained together in an intact household. The step-by-step process is as follows:
- Use the Gross to Net Income Conversion Table to figure out each parent’s net income. For example, using the table, a supporting parent with a gross monthly income of $5,000 has a net income of $3,759. A residential parent with $2000 gross monthly income and one child with the supporting parent has a net income of $1,705.
- Combine the net income of the two parents. In the above example the combined monthly net income is $5,464.
- Calculate what percentage of the combined monthly net income comes from each parent. In the above example, the supporting parent’s net income of $3,759 constituted 69% of the combined monthly net income, and the residential parent’s income amounted to 31%.
- Use the Income Shares Chart to determine the total child support obligation. In our example, a combined monthly net income of $5,464 incurs a child support obligation of $1,001.
- Multiply the percentage we determined in Step 3 with the child support obligation we found in Step 4. In our example, the supporting parent is responsible for 69% of the obligation, or $690.69. The residential parent is responsible for $310.31.
- The residential parent’s obligation is considered paid, making the supporting parent’s total child support obligation to the child $690.69 per month.
With this new system, a residential parent with considerably higher income than the supporting parent will expect to see a smaller obligation from the supporting parent, and a residential parent with considerably lower income than the supporting parent will expect to see a much larger obligation from the supporting parent.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides a Free Child Support Estimator for parents to get a ballpark idea of their total child support obligations. The estimator is a useful tool but is no replacement for a competent attorney to explain your rights and obligations.