Illinois has made a significant change in how child support is calculated in divorce proceedings. Formerly, one parent would be obligated to pay a percentage of his or her net income based on the number of children being supported. Now, in recognition of the fact that both parents have a duty to support their children, Illinois law follows the “income shares” model used in most states.
The income shares model is meant to preserve a standard of living for the children that is similar to what existed prior to the divorce, considering the full range of child-raising expenses. The overriding concern of a court deciding on support will be what is in the best interests of the children.
The first step in the child support calculation is to determine the net income of each parent. Net income includes revenue from all sources, such as wages, tips and investment income, which is reduced by certain deductions, such as federal and state taxes, health insurance and union dues.
The parents’ net incomes are then combined, and the total is entered in a state guidelines table that determines the basic child support obligation, which takes into account the number of children in the family.
The dollar amount of child support is then multiplied by each parent’s percentage of the combined net income to determine each parent’s child support share. For instance, if the child support figure in the statutory guidelines is $2,000 per month, and one parent contributed 80 percent of the combined net income, that parent would be responsible for $1,600 of the monthly child support payment.
Allocation of parenting time also affects the child support calculation. The parent with whom the child lives is deemed to be providing his or her share of child support directly to the child. The other parent’s child support share may be reduced according to the amount of parenting time he or she is allocated.
Judges can adjust the guidelines amount or either parent’s share to address special circumstances. For instance, if the child has special needs or is attending private school, the judge may adjust the amount upwards. If one parent has significant medical expenses or is disabled and unable to work, a judge could reduce that parent’s child support share.
At the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky (routinely handling cases before the Court in Skokie and other suburban District Courts) with offices in Northfield , our family attorney helps clients navigate legal separation or divorce proceedings, including ensuring that child support payments are fair to the children and the parents. Contact us today at 847-416-1646 or online to schedule your consultation.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and families. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…
Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her studies…