Illinois Moves to Income Shares Child Support

On August 12, 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Illinois House Bill 3982, amending the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, more commonly known as the IMDMA. The IMDMA is the series of statutes that governs divorce, property distribution, the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities and child support, among others. The amendment that Governor Rauner signed into law in August goes into effect on July 1, 2017. Until that date and in the past, Illinois has specifically focused on the income of the “noncustodial” parent in determining child support. For example, for one child the noncustodial parent would pay 20% of his net income to the custodial parent for child support. The percentage of his or her net income owed to child support would increase with the number of children, according to the set schedule in the child support statute. At no time has the Illinois child support statute referenced the income of the custodial parent, until this new law.The income-shares model that will replace the current system takes into account the income of both parents. However, the schedule and framework of the current child support system may still be relevant in determining the “cost of raising a child.” Each parents’ primary child support obligation will be calculated on a determined schedule set out in the statute (has not been released yet), then that figure will be multiplied by the percentage they pay to both parents combined income. For example, if both parents combine to make $100 and Parent A brings in $60 and Parent B brings in $40, Parent A will be responsible for 60% of the support and Parent B will be responsible for 40% of the support. Next, “Additional Expenses” will be added in. Most, if not all, of separated parents will allocate parental responsibilities under a Parenting Plan. Many will have sections dedicated to the allocation of school, extra-curricular, day care, medical, etc. expenses for the minor children. These expenses will be figured into child support going forward. Additional expenses will likely be determined on a “mini financial affidavit” created by each parent and added together for a total. That total figure is then prorated to the total contribution from each parent as determined in the “cost of raising a child” portion described previously. It is very important to note that everything described above is for when there is not a “shared parenting” plan. Shared parenting will be defined under the statute as anytime the parent with less time with the child still has at least 40% of overnights (or 146 nights) per year. When there is a shared parenting schedule, everything previously described remains the same, except that after the basic child support obligation or “cost of raising a child” is multiplied by 1.5 to incorporate the shared parenting costs such as transportation between residences, transportation to appointments, etc. As Illinois begins the income-shares model in 2017, it will be interesting to see when courts allow for deviations from the statutory math. Perhaps jurists need not look very far across state lines for examples because, by signing this into law, Illinois becomes the 40th state to use such a system. The income-shares model is a fair system that will reduce the number of windfalls that many custodial parents in Illinois have seen in the past. The design of the system is to try and replicate what each parent would pay to child-rearing had the parents remained together during the child’s minority. Another question is if the passing of this law creates a rush to the courthouse to modify child support orders passed prior to July 1, 2017. If you are currently paying a child support obligation, you should prepare to petition to modify your order of support shortly after this law comes into effect. If you are currently receiving child support from a non-custodial parent, you should prepare to be served with a petition to modify the order of support shortly after July 1, 2017. The experienced attorneys at Gullberg, Box &  LLC have dealt with the existing child support statute and continue to thoroughly research the new statute so that they are ready before July 1, 2017 to answer any questions you may have on child support. If you would like to speak with an attorney regarding this matter, please call 309-734-1001 for a free consultation.