Child support is an important source of financial support for divorced and unmarried parents. It can also be significant financial responsibility on the part of the paying parent or “obligor.” If you have a high income and are planning to divorce, you may have questions about how your financial status may affect your child support order. Illinois uses the “Income Shares” model to determine child support. The amount an obligor pays in child support is mostly based on the discrepancy between the two parents’ net incomes, but other factors may also play a role in child support calculations.
Statutory Guidelines for Child Support Payments
Considerable modifications and updates to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in 2017. Child support payments in Illinois used to be based solely on the obligor parent’s income and the number of children requiring support. Illinois now uses a child support calculation method that takes both parents’ net incomes into account. The parent with the majority of parenting time, previously called the custodial parent, receives child support while the parent with less parenting time is the payor. Child support payment amounts based on statutory guidelines are determined by the following main steps:
The parents’ net incomes are added together to determine the combined net income available to the child
The combined net income is compared to the Income Shares Schedule to determine the “Basic Support Obligation.” This sum is the total monetary support that both parents are responsible for.
The Basic Support Obligation is divided between the parents based on each parent’s contribution to the combined net income. For example, if a father’s income was 80 percent of the combined net income, he would be responsible for 80 percent of the Basic Support Obligation.
If each parent has the child for at least 146 nights a year, this is considered a “shared parenting” situation. In shared parenting arrangements, the amount of parenting time that each parent is responsible for is also factored into child support calculations. If the parents do not meet the criteria for a shared parenting arrangement, the amount of parenting time does not influence the child support payment amount.
Deviating from the Child Support Guidelines
Statistical financial patterns are used to create the Income Shares Schedule and other aspects of the child support guidelines. Of course, some financial situations do fit into these patterns. Illinois courts have the authority to deviate from the child support guidelines under certain circumstances. If one or both parents have an especially high income, it is possible that the court will not use the Income Shares guidelines to calculate child support. When determining if a deviation from the statutory guidelines is appropriate, Illinois courts consider factors such as:
The child’s own financial resources and educational needs
The parents’ financial resources and needs
The standard of living the child would have experienced if the parents were together
Whether the use of the statutory guidelines would create a “windfall” or disproportionately high child support payment
Contact a Hinsdale Child Support Lawyer
If you are planning to divorce, it is important to consider your child support obligations if you have children. A skilled and diligent Cook County divorce attorney from Botti Marinaccio Ltd can help you navigate the legal proceedings pertaining to this critical issue. We will work hard to make sure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Call our office today at 630-575-8585 to schedule a confidential consultation.