In this article, we explain the impact of remarriage on Illinois child support obligations. We answer the questions, “how is child support calculated in Illinois?”, “what happens if the parent paying child support gets remarried?”, “what happens if the recipient of child support gets remarried?”, and “does remarriage impact parental resources for the purpose of child support for college education?”
In Illinois, child support is calculated by determining the total amount of child support for which the parents are collectively responsible based on economic tables that factor in geography, the total income of the parents, and the number of children involved.
The responsibility for paying this total amount is divided between the parents based on the net income of the parents relative to one another. The more the parent paying child support (“the obligor”) makes relative to the recipient, the more he or she can expect to pay in child support.
In shared parenting situations, the total amount of child support for which the couple is responsible increases, but the amount of time spent with the child is factored into the analysis. The more time the obligor spends with care of the child, the less he or she can expect to pay.
For more on this, check out our foundational article on Illinois Child Support.
Remarriage of the obligor does not impact his or her child support obligation. Many people expect that if the obligor marries someone with a high income, his or her child support obligation will increase, or that if the obligor takes on additional expenses associated with step-children his or her child support obligation will be reduced. This is not the case.
The income of the obligor’s spouse is not factored into child support obligations, because the new spouse has no legal obligation to financially support the obligor’s child. Conversely, increased expenses associated with remarriage, such as additional dependents, do not factor into child support calculations, because the obligor's and recipient’s living expenses have no bearing on child support.
The same principles apply when the recipient of child support remarries. Even if the recipient marries someone with a high income, the obligor’s child support obligation will not be reduced because the recipient’s new spouse does not have a legal obligation to provide for the couple’s child. Similarly, any new expenses associated with the recipient’s remarriage will not serve to increase child support payments.
There is one exception to this rule. If the new spouse adopts the child, the obligor’s child support obligation will be terminated. This is because adoption by one parent’s new spouse can only occur after the other parent’s parental rights have been terminated.
Child support is required in Illinois until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. After the latter of these events, child support is no longer automatically required, but may be awarded at the discretion of the court for post high school education expenses. A major factor that courts use to determine whether to order continued child support for non-minor education is the resources of each parent. Just as remarriage does not impact the impact of the parents for child support purposes, a new spouse’s income does not count as a parental resource for the purpose of determining whether to award child support for college and other non-minor educational expenses.
For more, check out: Is a Spouse’s Income a Parental Resource for Non-Minor Educational Expenses?