Changes for Child Support Payments in 2017

Effective July 1, 2017, the Illinois Legislature will change the current formula that’s used to determine child support. For parents who pay child support, the new ruling may have a significant impact on child support payments.

Currently, child support payments are calculated based on a “Percentage of Income” formula that considers the net income of the parent who pays child support. The current formula breaks down child support payments based on a percentage of net income per child:

* One child – 20 percent
* Two children – 28 percent
* Three children – 32 percent
* Four children – 40 percent

Under the proposed legislative changes, child support payments will be based on an “Income Shares” formula that combines the adjusted net income of both parents, even though only one parent pays child support. Under the new formula, combined net income will be considered “Total Family Income” and Illinois courts will consider child support payments based on the following conditions:

* The income of the residential parent
* Parenting time of both parents
* Additional expenses of both parents
* Employment history, including unemployment, of both parents

Calculating Total Family Income

After the court determines Total Family Income, child support payments will be compared to an average family with similar income and number of children. For example, if the Total Family Income is $75,000, and there are two children that require $25,000 for annual support, the court will consider each parent’s percentage of the total income. If the father is the parent who pays child support, and he makes 70 percent of the total income, annual child support payments would total 70 percent of the $25,000 spent on the two children, which would be $17,500 per year. The Court may also order money to cover a contribution to a child’s health care expenses, extracurricular activities, school expenses, and child care expenses.

Under the new law, spousal maintenance, formerly called alimony, Social Security, other retirement benefits, and Social Security Disability benefits will be considered income by the court. If either parent is unemployed, the court will look at the current Federal Poverty Guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In most cases involving unemployment, the court will award a minimum child support payment of $40.00 per month per child.

Calculating Parenting Time

Under new rules, calculating “parenting time” between both parents will also be based on a specific formula. To calculate a shared income obligation, the court will consider the percentage of parenting time for each parent spent with the child or children. If a parent physically takes care of the child or children for a minimum of 146 overnights per year, the basic child support obligation will be multiplied by 1.5 percent to determine Cook County child support enforcement.

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