The child support law in Illinois is changing on July 1. The current child support statute has a very clear formula for determining child support. Generally, child support is determined based on the net income of the parent that is not the residential parent of the minor child(ren). The formula is very clear to follow in that child support for one child is set at 20% of the nonresidential parent’s net income, 28% for two children and so on.
The new law that will come into effect on July 1, 2017 no longer will use the same formula and will instead be based on the parents combined income. The new approach is tentatively called the income shared approach. The child support obligations will initially be determined by calculating the net income of each parent and then combining the two incomes to determine the “Total Family Income.” The Total Family Income will be then be compared to an average family with similar income and number of children. Basically, the new calculations will require the Court to determine the income of both parents as opposed to only the nonresidential parent. What makes preparing for the change in the child support law a little challenging is that the The Illinois Department of Health and Family Services has not yet published charts that will be used to determine child support in each specific case. The second change that will take effect with the new law is that the statute will provide for adjustments to child support amounts based upon the number of overnights each parent has physical possession of the minor child or children. The new law provides a formula that will basically reduce the child support obligation of the nonresidential parent if that parent has the minor child or the minor children for 146 or more nights per year.
The biggest issue that I foresee practitioners and the Courts having with the new law is the fact that the chart that will be used to reference the percentage of child support owed by a parent is not available as of today’s date and therefore there has been no time to fully and adequately prepare for the change in the law which will most likely result in the Courts learning on the go which may result in some miscalculations in the early stages.