In August, Governor Rauner signed Public Act 99-0764 into law, which will go into effect on July 1, 2017. The new law modifies two sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act by amending the guidelines used to calculate child support. Transitioning to the new method of child support calculation may prove challenging, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions or concerns about how the new provisions could affect you, it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can walk you through the process.
The New Amendments
Under the current child support law, courts award child support based on percentages of the non-custodial parent’s income and do not take into account the income of the custodial parent. The new law replaces this method by instituting an income shares model, which is already in place in many other states. According to this model, courts must refer to economic tables issued by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services before ordering child support. These tables will reflect the percentage of combined income that parents living in the same household in Illinois typically spend on a child. Based on these charts, the courts will assess a number of factors about each couple, including:
- Their combined income;
- The cost of living; and
- The number of children in the household.
Each parent is then considered responsible for his or her share based on relative income.
In requiring the use of the new guidelines, the state hopes to achieve a specific set of purposes, including:
- To establish an adequate standard of child support, subject to the ability of each parent to pay;
- To make awards more equitable;
- To improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements;
- To calculate child support based upon the parents’ combined net income;
- To adjust child support awards based upon the needs of the child; and
- To allocate the amount of child support to be paid by each parent based upon child support and the child’s physical care arrangements.
For the purposes of this statute, net income means gross income, which is a person’s total income from all sources except for benefits received through government aid and payments received for the care of another child, minus a standardized tax amount.
Courts are generally required to use these economic guidelines in making child support determinations. However, judges are permitted to deviate from this standard if they deem that the guidelines would not be in the best interest of the child. In coming to this conclusion, the court will assess the following circumstances:
- The financial resources and needs of the child;
- The financial resources and needs of both the custodial and non-custodial parents;
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- The child’s physical and emotional condition; and
- The educational needs of the child.
Contact The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC to Speak With an Experienced Divorce Attorney
At The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC, we are dedicated to protecting the interests of our clients and their children and helping the divorce process go as smoothly as possible, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions about child support, please call us at (847) 616-0980 to schedule a case evaluation.