| Read Time: 4 minutes | Category: Divorce

Once the court has allocated significant decision-making responsibility and determined a permanent parenting plan—both in the best interest of the child, it will determine the child support obligations for either or both parents.

Note that the primary residential parent is not necessarily always the recipient of child support. Sometimes the parent with less parenting time receives support from the parent with more parenting time. This might be the case when one parent makes substantially more money than the other. 

The method to determine child support in Illinois is known as the income shares method. The following is a simplified summary of the process Illinois courts use to determine one’s child support obligation.

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Standard Child Support Calculation

The following formula applies when one of the parties exercises less than 146 days of parenting time per year.

Step One: Determine Your Adjusted Net Income

Adjusted net income is generally gross income minus taxes and other permissible deductions. If Father earns $8,000 per month and pays $2,000 per month in taxes, his adjusted net income would be $6,000. 

Step Two: Determine Your Combined Adjusted Net Income

Combined adjusted net income is determined by adding each parent’s adjusted net income together. For example, if Father nets $6,000 per month, and Mother nets $5,000 per month, then the parties’ combined adjusted net income would be $11,000 per month. 

 Step Three: Determine the Total Child Support Obligation

The Illinois Income Shares Schedule is used to determine how much financial support a child is entitled to. The schedule is meant to approximate how much support the child would have received if the parents were married and living together. To determine one’s total support obligation, look for the parent’s combined net income on the left-hand side of the schedule, and match it to the number of minor children listed at the top.

For example, Mother and Father have three children and a combined adjusted net income of $11,000 per month. Pursuant to the Illinois Income Shares Schedule, the total child support obligation for three children is $2,755 per month. 

Step Four: Determine Each Parent’s Share of the Total Child Support Obligation

For this step, divide a parent’s respective monthly net income (From Step 1) by the parents’ combined net income (From Step 2), then multiply the answer by the total child support obligation amount (From Step 3). 

For example, if Father nets $6,000 per month, and Mother nets $5,000 per month, the parents combined net income is $11,000 per month. $6,000 divided by $11,000 is 55%. 55% multiplied by $2,755 comes to $1,503 per month for Father. 

Use the same calculation for Mother. $5,000 per month divided by $11,000 is 45%. 45% multiplied by $2,755 comes to $1,252 per month for Mother. 

Step Five: The Non-Custodial Parent Pays Their Entire Share to the Custodial Parent

If the children reside primarily with Father, Mother must pay him all her share ($1,252 per month). Because Father is the custodial or primary residential parent, Illinois courts will presume that he is properly contributing his own share ($1,503 per month) toward necessities for the children.

Shared Parenting Child Support Calculation

Illinois courts calculate child support differently when each parent exercises at least 146 days (overnights) or 40% of parenting time with the child. Generally, child support calculated pursuant to a shared parenting time schedule will yield a much lower child support obligation for the noncustodial parent. 

Step One: Determine Your Adjusted Net Income

Adjusted net income is generally gross income minus taxes and other permissible deductions. If Father earns $8,000 per month and pays $2,000 per month in taxes, his adjusted net income would be $6,000. 

Step Two: Determine Your Combined Adjusted Net Income

Combined adjusted net income is determined by adding each parent’s adjusted net income together. For example, if Father nets $6,000 per month, and Mother nets $5,000 per month, then the parties’ combined adjusted net income would be $11,000 per month. 

Step Three: Determine the Total Child Support Obligation

Illinois courts increase the total child support obligation for shared parenting arrangements. To determine the total support obligation, look for the parents’ combined net income on the left-hand side of the income shares schedule, and match it to the number of minor children listed at the top. Next, multiply that amount by 150%.

For example, Mother and Father have three children and a combined adjusted net income of $11,000 per month. Pursuant to the Illinois Income Shares Schedule, the child support obligation for three children is $2,755 per month. $2,755 multiplied by 150% is $4,132.50. $4,132.50 is the total child support obligation.

Step Four: Determine Each Parent’s Share of the Total Child Support Obligation

For this step, divide a parent’s respective monthly net income (from Step 1) by both parents’ combined net income (from Step 2), then multiply the answer by the total child support obligation amount (from Step 3). Now, multiply that answer by the other parent’s percentage of parenting time out of the year. In this scenario, we will assume that the parents share parenting time 50/50.

If Father nets $6,000 per month, and Mother nets $5,000 per month, the parents’ combined net income is $11,000 per month. $6,000 divided by $11,000 is 55%. 55% multiplied by $4,132.50 comes to $2,272.88. $2,272.88 multiplied by 50% parenting time comes to $1,136.44.

For Mother, $5,000 per month divided by $11,000 is 45%. 45% multiplied by $4,132.50 comes to $1,859.63. $1,859.63 multiplied by 50% parenting time comes to $929.82.

Step Five: Offset the Difference 

Even though Father exercises 50/50 parenting time, he makes more money, and thus contributes more. In the example above, Father would pay Mother the difference between $1,136.44 and $929.82. His total child support obligation comes to a mere $206.62 per month.

An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help Maximize Your Parenting Time

Depending on the number of overnights you have with your child, you may be able to reduce your child support obligation by a significant amount. If you are facing a divorce and seek to maximize your parenting time, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Vantage Group Legal. Our mission is to serve our clients at an affordable price while bringing together the very best legal professionals. We will listen to your concerns, and help you determine your options and the best path forward.

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