The Potential Unintended Consequences of Illinois' New Child Support Rules
The payment of child support is an issue that commonly produces anxiety and agitation from both parents. The parent obligated to pay child support often believes the Court-ordered amount is too high and/or the money is not being used for the child's benefit. From the other side, the recipient parent frequently feels the required amount is too low, and the obligated parent creates unnecessary tension over this matter due to resentment.
Certainly, this situation could spill over to the child and leave a negative impression if one or both parents badmouth the other on financial issues. In hopes of reducing conflict over child support, Illinois implemented new child support calculation rules on July 1, 2017 that are supposed to bring a more balanced and fair approach to the division of support between parents.
Previously, Illinois employed a percentage model to calculate child support, which only took into consideration the non-custodial parent's income (the parent with less parenting time). This model calculated child support as a percentage of the parent's income, which was increased by the number of children he or she must support. The new child support model, income shares, is the method used in most states throughout the country.
Child Support under Income Shares System
As noted above, the new child support calculation formula will look at the combined net monthly incomes of both parents instead of just the income of the parent ordered to pay support. Additionally, the new formula will look at the cost of living for each parent. Though the child support order will take into consideration financial contributions by both parents, the parent receiving support is not required to pay his or her share of the child support to the other parent, as it is assumed that money will be directly spent on the child.
Courts are still free to deviate from the guidelines if the best interests of the child requires such a decision, which is based on the financial resources of each parent and the child's needs. An example of the monthly payment under the new system shows that parents earning a combined monthly net income of $1975.00 to $2024.99 would result in a $432 monthly payment for one child, which is divided in proportion to the amount of time each parent has physical custody. The parent with the least amount of parenting time will be obligated to pay support to the other parent.
One important change worth noting was implemented for parents with child support obligations to multiple families. Rather than factoring in the child support payment to the other family into the parent's gross income, the new guidelines will apply this amount from net income.
How Parents May React
Certainly, by using the income of both parents, the party obligated to pay support should have this burden more equally distributed with the other parent. However, because child support obligations will be greatly influenced by the amount of time each parent has with the child, one parent could see this new system as a justification for withholding time from the other parent in order to receive more support.
Consult a Divorce Attorney
Child support is an issue of critical importance to all divorced and separated parents. If you have concerns or questions over the support you receive or pay, talk to an experienced Barrington divorce attorney about the legal requirements and your potential options. The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. understands how explosive this issue is, and will work to craft an agreement that protects your rights and looks out for the best interests of your child. Do not hesitate to contact the office for a free initial consultation.