In this article, we will answer frequently asked questions about child support. For a comprehensive overview of the the current state of Illinois child support law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.
Prior to 2017, a parent’s child support obligation was based on a flat percentage of his or her income that escalated based on the number of children involved. In July of 2017, Illinois changed to the “income shares” model of child support.
Under this new model, the total amount of child support for which the parents are together responsible for providing is calculated according to economic guidelines that take into account several factors, which you can learn about here: How to Calculate Child Support in Illinois.
Once the total amount of child support is determined, the responsibility for paying this amount is apportioned between the parents based on their incomes relative to one another. Who pays who depends on who spends the most time with the child and how the parents’ relative incomes compare.
To learn more about how child support laws in Illinois changed in 2017, check out our article: Changes to Illinois Child Support Laws.
Child support is calculated differently in shared parenting situations. A shared parenting situation occurs when each parent is responsible for at least 146 overnights with the child per year. In a shared parenting situation the total amount of child support required of both parents is increased by a factor of 50%. In addition, the relative amounts of time that each parent spends with the child is taken into account in determining each child support responsibility.
To learn more about child support in shared parenting situations, check out our article: Illinois Child Support in Shared Parenting Situations.
As discussed above, child support is calculated based on each party’s relative incomes; so what if one of the parties is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed? In these cases, the court will generally look at potential income rather than actual income.
The court must first determine whether the employment is voluntary or involuntary. If the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary, the court must then determine whether it is in the best interests of the child for the parent to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
If the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and it is not in the best interest of the child, the court will then determine what his or her income would be were he or she employed and impute that income to the parent for the purpose of child support calculations.
Child support is always granted prior to the child support reaching the age of 18 or graduating high school, whichever comes first. Child support may be granted at the court’s discretion for post high school education. However, the burden is on the party seeking child support for this purpose to demonstrate that it is appropriate.
For more, check out our article, Illinois Child Support and College Expenses.
If the person paying child support has obligations to two different recipients, the first child support order that is entered will reduce the payer's net income for the purpose of calculating the second child support order. This means that the second child support order will tend to be for a lesser amount than the first order, but the second order will not serve to reduce the amount of the first order. The key is which order was entered first.
For more, check out our article: How is Child Support Calculated for Multiple Families in Illinois
When one of the parties gets remarried, many people assume this will impact their child support. However, remarriage of either party will typically not impact child support, because the new spouse will have no legal obligation to use his or her income to care for the child.
Learn more about this: If My Ex Gets Remarried Will My Child Support Go Down?