Financial challenges are a focus for both parents when they are planning their Illinois divorce. Both the parent who has to pay child support and the one receiving it have a lot at stake. With the new guidelines, lawmakers believe the whole family will benefit.
According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the state now uses the Income Shares model. This weighs the income of each parent rather than assuming the noncustodial parent should pay a set percentage.
There is a calculator that can help identify the amount of each parent’s income. Once the incomes are combined, the calculator provides each parent’s percentage of the total, and the total amount of the income that should be used to support the child. Then they pay their portion of the support based on the percentage. For example, if one parent makes 40 percent of the total combined income and the other makes 60 percent, and the total amount of support for the month is $800, then they would pay $320 and $480, respectively. Although only one person pays support, the parent who has primary custody should already be contributing his or her required amount through regular coverage of the child’s needs.
The Illinois Bar Journal explains that shared physical parenting may change the calculation. This goes into effect when each parent has at least 146 parenting overnights per year. The law acknowledges that both parents may be expected to have higher costs from the more balanced division of time spent with the child, so the total amount of support for the child is higher. The percentages each parent pays includes adjustment for the time spent with the child as well as the amount of income each makes.
Other factors such as underemployment, incarceration and incomes below the federal poverty line may also affect the calculation.