Illinois Child Support Law Changes Today

Illinois Child Support Law Changes Today

After years of talks and probably over thinking it by politicians (shocker), Illinois has a new way of calculating child support that takes effect as of today.  This law is for new cases or older cases when you can show a change in circumstances.  Family law in Illinois is about to go nuts.

Under the old law, one parent was the primary care giver and the other paid support.  That was true when custody was 51/49 or when one parent had sole custody.  You took the net income of the non-custodial parent and they paid a percentage of their income based on how many kids there were.  It was 20% for one kid, 28% for two and went up from there.

Now Illinois calculates child support based on parenting time as well as the joint income of each parent.  There are of course exceptions, but generally speaking, there are three ways this will play out and all of them use an income share table.

The key number under this new law is 146.  If you have your child for more than 146 nights, but less than half the year, you fall in to one category, if not you fall in to another.  146 nights represents that you spend at least 40% of the time with your children in a calendar year.

Scenario one applies to parents who spend less than 40% of the time with their kids.  In that case you will take the NET income of both parents and figure out what that is per month.  I put a bold and caps on net because it’s important to make sure that you figure this out after taxes and deductions for things like health insurance.

So let’s say that after deductions, Dad nets $6,000 a month and Mom nets $4,000 a month and they have two kids.  Under the income share table I linked to above, you’d go to page five where the number $10,000 is and under the column for two kids you’d see that the child support number is $2,187.  If mom has custody, Dad pays 60% of that amount because under the new law you pay support based on the percentage of the combined income you make.  So in this example, Dad would pay $1,312.20 a month if Mom had custody, plus half of any unpaid medical bills or daycare expenses.  If Dad had custody, mom would  pay 40% of $2,187 or $874.80 a month.

Scenario two applies when one parent has 40% or more of the nights with the kid, but less than 50%.  It’s a longer calculation.  You take the joint monthly income, multiply it by 1.5 and then multiply it by the income percentage and then by their soon to be ex’s parent percentage time. So again assume that we make a combined $10,000 net a month, but I make 70% of that amount and you have the kids 55% of the time. We’d take the $10,000 support figure ($2,187) and multiply it by 1.5 and then by .7 and .55.  So my monthly obligation would be $1,262.99.   As you can see, even though I’m making more money in this example, I pay less because I spend more time with the kids.

Scenario three comes in to play when parenting time is 50/50.  In that case you find the net income figure for both Dad and Mom on the table, multiply each by 1.5 and then whoever has the higher number pays the difference to the other one.  So if I make $8,000 a month net and we have two kids, my income share number is $1,898, 150% of that is $2,847.  Wife makes 5k a month, her income share number would be $1,423 for two kids or $21,34.50 when you multiply if by 1.5.  There is a difference of a little over $700 which in this example I’d have to pay her per month even though we have the kids 50/50.

What’s crazy is that some scenarios haven’t been addressed yet.  For example, if the net income combo is over $30,000 a month we don’t know what happens as the table doesn’t go beyond that.  You can bet that the courts are going to be flooded soon with cases.  If you are a parent paying a high percentage under the old law and you get a raise at work, you can go to court and say your circumstances have changed so even though you are making more, you will probably end up paying less.

I’d bet that it will take a couple of years for all of this to shake out. It can be confusing for sure.  If you have questions about the law or need help finding a good lawyer, call me any time at (312) 346-5320.


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  • Wow this is very interesting. I live in CA and the laws here can be so different

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    Can someone with the "old" child support formula go to court to request the Public Act 99-764 formula? Has anyone successfully challenged it? I understand the law in itself is not a cause to make that argument. Has any case law around it occured yet? Thank you

  • In reply to Johnnnnn:

    My understanding of the law is that you have to show a change in circumstances. Not aware of anyone challenging it yet, but most cases at that level don't get publicity so it's possible it's happened. Every case is different and the best approach, IMO, is to show your circumstances have changed.

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    Do u pay child support before the kid is born.

  • In reply to Herman Audett:


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    Well she is starting the process on the child support before the kid is born plus she has saliva. I never received any court order on anything

  • This is going to effect for my kids and I because of change of change of pay/job with my ex. Been divorced for 8 yrs and currently receiving 32% of his income. My kids will get substancially less now under this new support law. I think it unfair because if he works o.t as a union worker this doesn't get factored in, if not on current taxes which wouldn't be until next year. Unless you are getting salary pay this doesn't work. Residential parents income shouldn't even matter here. If I was a doctor and had residential custody of my kids, Why would I pay him because i make more money. I have the kids full time, running them to doctors, dentist, ortho appointments, friends houses, back and forth to activities and practices. Plus you have teenagers that eat you out of the house. 2x a week at the grocery store $200 each visit. Kids need to eat and are growing out of clothes and shoes every couple month's. Even though I'm not a doctor or make alot of money this effects all residential parents who not only work, but do take care of everything for their kids and take time off work when they are sick, times that by how many children you have. This does not get factored into the states so called fairness calculator. Set a current % and leave it be. Why go changing the recipe if the recipe works.

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    In reply to Teea:

    Unfortunately, the previous requirements worked for the custodial parent who typically abused the system. Im surr a majority of custodial parents abused there free unclaimed income. So, modifications were very much needed on behalf of the children. Which attorney did your ex husband have btw?

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