Illinois Has New Child Support Laws as of July 1, 2017

Child Support Laws

The percentage guidelines (20%, 28%, 32%, etc.) are gone. If you are setting child support after July 1, 2017, the court will apply what is called the “Income Shares” Model. A version of the Income Shares model is used in 39 other states so Illinois is now joining the majority of the country in how child support is calculated.

How does it work?

There is still a formula, but support is calculated using both parties’ incomes. Gross incomes are used instead of net. Illinois has published a table showing the support figures. If the other parent has significant income, it will likely result in less child support being paid than under the old child support percentage model. Health insurance, union dues, mandatory pensions and other deductions which used to be a factor in net income for child support purposes no longer factor into the child support amount. One major change is that you can now deduct support you pay for children that live with you. It does not have to be support paid pursuant to another court order.

Does parenting time affect the child support number?

It will if you have at least 146 overnights (40% time). If you do not, there is no deviation for parenting time. The law is new and it remains to be seen if courts will deviate for parents who are close to the 146 overnights.

Is it possible to be the residential parent and still pay child support?

Yes. Under the old law a residential parent could pay child support but it was uncommon and there was no formula for how to calculate the support. If the residential parent has substantially more income than the non-residential parent, there is a chance under the new child support formulas that the residential parent will have to pay an amount for child support.

Is the new law better or worse?

I believe it is better and fairer. Most families have two working parents. In many cases, the residential parent (parent who has more parenting time), earns more income than the non-residential parent. We are also seeing more parents sharing equal time or more than the over other weekend one night during the week parenting time.

What about health insurance premiums, medical costs, educational costs, child care, etc.?

These are still being divided between the parents. In most cases it is 50/50 (because support that is being paid makes the parties’ household income similar). However, if after support is being paid one parent has much more net income, the division could be more to one parent.

Can I change my child support order that was entered before July 1, 2017 to conform with the new law?

Yes, but only if you have had a substantial change in circumstances since your child support order was entered. The mere fact that under the new law you would pay less child support is not a reason for the court to modify the support order. If you have children from another relationship after the last child support order or incomes have substantially changed, that should be enough.