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Until 2017, Illinois child support obligations were based solely on the paying parent’s income. However, the law has changed substantially in recent years, and now the calculation considers both parents’ income to decide how the support obligation should be distributed between them. In order to understand how this income shares model will apply to your case, it is important to know how Illinois determines the income of each parent for the purposes of child support.
The first step in calculating child support is to determine each parent’s gross income. According to Illinois law, this includes income from a variety of sources, including wages, business income, investment income, trust distributions, unemployment benefits, taxable spousal maintenance, and more. It can also include Social Security disability benefits for the child, though in this case, the parent will receive a child support credit if benefits are paid to the other parent. Gross income does not include benefits from public assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, benefits paid for other children in the household, or tax-free maintenance.
After calculating gross income, the next step is to calculate each parent’s net income. In order to do so, a standardized or individualized amount of state and federal income taxes is subtracted from each parent’s gross income. If a parent is obligated to pay spousal maintenance or child support for another child outside of the current proceeding, those payments can also be subtracted. The resulting net income figures are then used in the basic child support calculation.
In the Illinois income shares model, the net monthly incomes of both parents are added together. The resulting figure is used to determine the basic support obligation. This figure is based on how much a family typically spends on raising a child at that income level. These expenses are then allocated to each parent in proportional shares. The parent with a larger share will usually make monthly payments to the other. For example, if one parent has a monthly net income of $10,000 and the other parent has a monthly net income of $5,000, the parent with a $10,000 income would likely be ordered to provide for a larger share of the support obligation and make payments to the other parent to make up the difference.
In a divorce or child support case, It is common for parents to have questions about their obligations and the impact on their financial situation. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our Hinsdale family law attorneys can answer your questions and ensure that your child support order is fair and appropriate for the situation. Contact us today at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.