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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will answer reader questions about Illinois child support and explain non-minor educational expenses and whether a new spouse’s income is considered a “parental resource” when calculating child support. For an overview of Illinois child support law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.

Our previous article explains that effective July 1, 2017, child support in Illinois is determined using an “income shares” model. This is a substantial change from how child support was calculated in Illinois. Previously, the amount of child support to be paid by the obligee (person required to pay child support) was determined based on a fixed percentage of the obligee parent’s net income and the number of children to be provided for.  

A reader commented on our article asking to expand on non-minor educational expenses and parental resources of the new child support law and to elaborate on if the non-custodial’s new spouse’s income is considered a potential resource and if it can be requested. 

Illinois Child Support and Non-Minor Educational Expenses Explained

Child support is always required in Illinois if the child is under 18 or still in high school. If a child graduates high school before turning 18, this may cause child support to terminate. However, courts may award child support for post-high school educational expenses.

Illinois courts weigh several factors when determining whether to award child support for non-minor educational expenses. One of the critical factors is the resources of the parents.

For a complete discussion of how courts determine whether to award child support for non-minor educational expenses, please see our article, Illinois Child Support & College Expenses.

Does a New Spouse’s Income Qualify As a Parental Resource For Illinois Child Support?

With the understanding that parental resources are a vital factor in determining whether to award child support for non-minor educational expenses, the next question is whether income from one of the parties’ new spouses counts as a parental resource. The short answer is that a spouse’s income is not a parental resource for the purpose of child support.

The “parental resources” the courts will now be focusing on will be mainly determined based on each party’s respective income. Income is defined as income from all sources minus statutory deductions.  

Courts typically will not consider a new spouse’s income as a potential resource because child support calculations only consider the incomes of the child’s biological parents. A spouse of the obligor or obligee has no legal obligation to spend his or her income on the care of the obligor and the obligee’s child. The income of the new spouse is therefore irrelevant to any support calculations.

So the bottom line is that the argument that the obligor’s spouse has significant income and that, therefore, the obligor should be required to pay for post-high school education will not be successful. Similarly, if the obligee marries an individual with significant income, this will not negatively impact the obligee’s chances of receiving child support for educational expenses.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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