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.
Understanding Gross and Net Income
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....