February 15,2018

Child Support


How is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?

HomeBlogChild SupportHow is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?

If you have a child who lives in Illinois and you are divorced, separated or were never married to the other parent, you might have questions about how the court decides how much child support you must pay. Since Illinois recently changed the way it calculates child support, if you understood the old system, you will now have to learn a new model. So, under the new system, how is child support calculated in Illinois?

Out with the Old, In with the New

On July 1, 2017, Illinois adopted a new method of calculating child support, called “Income Shares.” The old system was the “Percentage of Obligor Net Income” model. More than 40 states now use the Income Shares system. You can get a rough idea of the new child support amount using the state’s child support estimator. Here are the four primary aspects of Income Shares:

  • Income Shares considers the income of BOTH parents, not just the parent who pays support.
  • Income Shares calculates how much total income there would be and the basic child support obligation if the parents lived together, then looks at the paying parent’s portion of that income and support obligation, using a worksheet.
  • Only one parent pays support.
  • The model assumes that the parent with whom the child lives primarily already spends his or her share of the support obligation directly on the child, so that parent generally does not pay support.

What is Considered Income for Purposes of Gross Monthly Income

To reach a number for the Gross Monthly Income for each parent, the Income Shares model looks at income from every source, including spousal support (also called alimony or maintenance), but it does not include:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Child support, survivor benefits, foster care payments, or other benefits or income you get for other children in the household

Adjustments to Gross Monthly Income

After getting a figure for the Gross Monthly Income of each parent, the court will subtract from one parent the spousal support he or she will pay to the other spouse, and add it to the receiving spouse’s income. If a parent receives a Social Security dependent benefit allotment for one of the children covered by the child support calculations, it will count as income to that parent. Now we have the Adjusted Gross Monthly Income. After making additional calculations for taxes and some other things, we will arrive at the Net Income.

Determining the Child Support Amount from the Net Income

Using a chart, we find the presumed amount of child support for the total parental income and the number of children who are the subjects of the child support order. The next step is to calculate each parent’s share of the total income. For example, if the total income is $5,000 a month, with Parent A earning $2,000 a month and Parent B making $3,000 a month, Parent A generates 40 percent of the income and Parent B makes 60 percent.

Multiply the total basic child support obligation from the chart by each parent’s percentage. If the basic support amount is $1,668, Parent A will be responsible for 40 percent of it, which is $667.20, and Parent B will pay $1000.80 a month. The parent with primary custody, however, will not pay child support.

Shared Parenting Adjustment

Once the basic child support obligation is calculated, it may be adjusted if each parent spends a minimum of 146 overnights with the children.  This adjustment is made to recognize the increased costs associated with shared parenting time.

This article is just an overview of the basics of child support calculation in Illinois. For more information, please contact an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer at the Goodman Law Firm to help you understand your options.


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