One of our readers commented on our article about changes to Illinois child support laws that will go into effect on July 1, 2017, with the following question:
How is child support calculated if the father has child support obligations to multiple families? What if one of the children is in a different state
According to the child support law that will be in effect in Illinois until July 1, 2017, courts are provided with guidelines for the percentage of the non-custodial parent's net income that should be awarded as child support each month, based on the number of children of the particular parents involved. You can read more about the current law here.
In July 1, 2017, Illinois law will change to an "income shares" model of child support. According to the new law, courts will use economic tables to determine a baseline level of child support for which both parents will be responsible. Each parent's share of this responsibility will be based on their relative net incomes. You can read about the new law in more detail here.
The key to understanding how child support is calculated when the non-custodial parent has multiple child support obligations to multiple families is that the non-custodial parent's child support obligation is based on "net income," as opposed to "gross income." Net income is calculated by deducting certain expenses from gross income, such as income tax and health insurance premiums.
One of the items that is deducted from gross income to arrive at the net income figure for the purpose of determining child support is any prior obligation of child support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order.
This means that if a person has multiple child support obligations, the timeline of when each child support order was entered by the court is very important. If you are seeking child support from a parent who has a pre-existing child support obligation to another family, that parent's net income will be reduced by the amount of the previous child support obligation.
For example, if Peter Parker is ordered to pay 20% of his net income of $100,000.00 to support his child with Gwen Stacy, his annual child support obligation to Gwen will be $20,000.00. If in the next year Peter is order to pay 20% of his net income to his child with Mary Jane, his net income will have been reduced from $100,000.00 to $80,000.00 by Gwen's child support order. Even though both orders require him to pay 20% of his net income, Peter will only be required to pay $16,000.00 per year to Mary Jane, as opposed ot the $20,000.00 per year he is paying to Gwen, because Gwen's order came first.
When the new law goes into effect in Jully of 2017, the non-custodial parent's child support obligation will be based on his or her net income relative to the custodial parent. The effect of a previous child support obligation will be to reduce the non-custodial parent's net income by the amount of that obligation, thereby reducing that parent's responsibility for the total amount of child support.
If the non-custodial parent has families in multiple states, each state's particular laws would determine how much will be awarded for child support for the family residing in that state. However, each states will still give priority to earlier out-of-state child support obligigations when determining net income.
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