In this episode of Learn About Law we discuss how education expenses are calculated for non-minor children in Illinois.
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As explained in our prior article, effective July 1, 2017 child support will be evaluated using the “income shares” model.  This is a substantial change from the way child support is calculated now. Currently the amount of child support to be paid by the obligee (person required to pay child support) it is determined pursuant a fixed percentage of the obligee parent’s net income based on the number of children to be provided for.  For example, currently when there is only one child to be supported to Court sets the support obligation at 20% of the payee’s net income; if it is two (2) children then it becomes 28%; three (3) children the support obligation is equivalent to 32% of the obligees income.

In this article we will answer reader questions about Illinois child support and explain non-minor educational expenses as well as 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.

As explained in our prior article, effective July 1, 2017 child support in Illinois is determined using an “income shares” model.  This is a substantial change from the way child support was previously 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 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 as long as the child is under the age of 18 or still in high school. If a child graduates highschool prior to turning 18, this may cause child support to terminate. However, courts may award child support for post-highschool educational expenses.

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

For a more 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 the Purpose of Illinois Child Support?

With the understanding that parental resources are a key 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 determined largely based upon 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 take into account the incomes of the biological parents of the child. A spouse of either the obligor or obligee has no legal obligation to spend his or her income for the care of the obligor and 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-highschool 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.

Posted 
November 16, 2020
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