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How IL Calculates Child Support Under the Amended Statute

How IL Calculates Child Support Under the Amended Statute

The purpose of this blog is to inform the reader how IL calculates child support under the amended statute, effective on July 1, 2017.

The Application 735 ILCS 5/505 (a)(1), child support guidelines

The Illinois Legislature has amended the child support statute section 505 in
material and meaningful ways. However, some people who fall under the statute may
find themselves aghast as to the outcomes arrived at under the new statute. For example,
it is possible for the person who has the majority of parenting time; and, who also earns
the majority of the income, paying the other spouse who earns less money, child support.
Although this seems counterintuitive, it is possible under the new law. This is why the
new child support law is referred to as the income shares model.

The Illinois Legislature amended the older and simpler child support calculation
method, so as to “make child support more equitable and consistent, by ensuring more
consistent treatment of parents in similar circumstances.” The legislature did this by
allowing the court to take into account the number of nights a child spends overnight with
both of the parents. This aspect of the law is certainly having dramatic effects on the
outcomes of child support calculations as we shall see in upcoming blog articles.

The Illinois Legislature also sought to improve efficiency of the court process by
promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing
levels of child support. It is the opinion of this attorney, that the amended child support
statute does not achieve this goal. The reason is because the legislature has made the
calculation of child support so difficult that it is much harder to arrive at a child support
obligation without significant effort. It gives incentive to the non-custodial parent to seek
additional time, that that parent would not ordinarily seek in order to artificially lower
his/her child support obligation. This will lead to longer court battles dealing with the
initial issue of parenting time.

The Illinois legislature has also sought to create a mechanism by which child
support can be calculated by using the combined net income of the parents which was
estimated by the Legislature to be for the support of the child if the parents and child
were living in an intact household. Although this sounds good, it is problematic and
flawed in that the parents are no longer (in most cases) living together. The parents, once
separated, are burdened by their own living expenses and cannot be considered to have a
combined net income any more.

About the author:
James M. Kelly is engaged in representing clients in contested and uncontested
dissolution of marriage proceedings and bankruptcy proceedings, both Chapter 7 and
Chapter 13. James Kelly, has been practicing in the northwest suburbs of Cook County
and to a very relevant extent McHenry County, Lake County and DuPage County. James
Kelly has been admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois since 1994.

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