Illinois’ child support guidelines will soon be brought into line with those in most other states, adopting an “income shares” model.
This method of calculation, which considers both the “custodial” and “noncustodial” parents’ incomes, is designed to ensure a child receives the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have gotten if the parents had not divorced or separated. In other words, it reinforces the age old adage that support is the obligation and duty of both parents.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (“DHFS”) is creating a table to define the appropriate proportions of parental income under these new guidelines.
In the meantime, the new rules give some much-needed clarity around defining gross, net and business income and the usage of “standardized tax,” versus “individualized tax” in calculating a parent’s ability and obligation to pay child support.
These new guidelines are not designed to be “one size fits all,” and the Court has the authority to deviate from them. Factors the Court may consider include, among others:
- The child’s best interest and physical needs,
- Additional expenses incurred for a child,
- Income in excess of the table created by DHFS, and/or
- Each party’s respective parenting time with the child, with adjustments made only when a parent has the child for 146 or more overnights per year.
In its discretion, the court may also order the parent(s) owing a duty of support to contribute toward the child’s extracurricular activities and reasonable child care expenses, above and beyond the obligation calculated by the formula.