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DuPage Divorce Lawyer: Child Support Changes Coming

Our Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Act ( IMDMA) has been going through a number of changes over the last year. One major change last year was the introduction of a spousal maintenance formula that created an entirely new landscape for the calculation for spousal support in divorce cases. This year we saw a major change to our child custody statutes, and went from an archaic “custody and visitation” model to a presumptive allocation of parental responsibilities or “shared parenting” model. Now, we are aware that the way we calculate child support is about to change, with these legislated changes becoming effective in July of 2017.

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In 2017, we move to an “income shares” model, which takes into account the incomes of both parents vs. the prior system which looked only to the noncustodial parent’s income. The new law will then take a percentage of that income to determine the total amount that should be allocated for child support, with DHFS ordered to develop tables that will set out the amounts that are to be paid for child support, based on DHFS’ findings to as what families spend on their children as a percentage of income.

Interestingly, the new law (SB 3982) also allows a window of opportunity for parents with true sharing of parenting to offset the amounts to be paid, and the parent with the higher income paying only the overage amount of the offset.

” (3.8) Shared parenting. If each parent exercises 146 or 9 more overnights per year with the child, the basic child 10 support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to calculate the 11 shared care child support obligation. The child support 12 obligation is then computed for each parent by multiplying 13 that parent’s portion of the shared care support obligation 14 by the percentage of time the child spends with the other 15 parent. The respective child support obligations are then 16 offset, with the parent owing more child support paying the 17 difference between the 2 amounts. ”

If the above sounds confusing ( and to be honest, some judges I’ve spoken with find the new law one that needs to be better defined) the good news is that there are sophisticated software programs used by judges, and my Firm, that will properly calculate support, maintenance, and shared parenting deviation amounts correctly under the new law. These programs allow for the factoring of credit items and deductions such as medical premium payments and daycare payments in determining child support, and other tax deductions and expenses for determining income for maintenance purposes.

Illinois law has finally evolved to catch up with 35+ other states that use income shares and shared allocated parenting. These new laws, however, will create some confusion; please contact my Firm for guidance as to any concerns you may have about your upcoming case.