If you are a parent who pays or receives child support, you may wonder how the amount of support is calculated. In this blog post, we will explore some fairly recent child support laws in Illinois, and how they affect your child support obligation or entitlement.
The old system
The old child support law was based on a percentage of the net income of the parent who paid support (the obligor). The percentage varied depending on the number of children involved, ranging from 20% for one child to 50% for six or more children. The net income of the parent who received support (the obligee) was not considered.
The new system
The new child support law in Illinois, which took effect on July 1, 2017, is based on an income shares model. This means that both parents’ net incomes are considered in the calculation, and the child support amount is determined by how much each parent would contribute to the child’s expenses if they lived together.
The income shares model is intended to reflect the actual costs of raising a child and to ensure that both parents share in those costs.
The child support calculation
First, determine each parent’s gross income from all sources, such as wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, interest, dividends, etc. Next, subtract certain deductions from each parent’s gross income, such as taxes, health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, union dues, etc., to get each parent’s net income.
Add both parents’ net incomes together to get their combined net income. Look up the basic child support obligation for their combined net income and number of children on the table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
The child support obligation is based on an estimate of how much parents at that income level spend on their children’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, etc. Calculate each parent’s percentage share of the combined net income by dividing their net income by the combined net income.
Multiply each parent’s percentage share by the basic child support obligation to get their individual child support obligation. Allocate additional expenses for the child’s health care, childcare and extracurricular activities between the parents based on their percentage shares of the combined net income.
The parent who pays child support (the obligor) pays their individual child support obligation plus their share of the additional expenses to the parent who receives child support (the obligee). The parent who receives child support (the obligee) pays their share of the additional expenses directly to the providers.