Income shares model

Filed in Divorce, on July 18, 2017

As of July 1, 2017, Illinois will calculate child support using a fundamentally different procedure.  No longer will child support be calculated by simply applying a percentage to the “net income” of the supporting parent.  The idea behind the income shares model is that when parents are together, both contribute to the support of the children, and the same should be the case when the parents separate.  This is not to say that the residential parent’s underemployment and expenses will not also be part of the equation.

Calculation Under the Income Shares Model

First, the net income of each party is calculated.  The net incomes of both parents are added together to determine the “Total Family Income.”  The Total Family Income is compared to a chart/schedule published by the State of Illinois which estimates the economics of an average intact family. Illinois has not yet published the chart/schedule.  The estimated expense from the chart/schedule is the basic child support obligation.  Additional expenses which may included are child care expenses, extra curricular activities, health insurance and educational expenses.  When the court determines either or both parties should contribute to certain additional expenses, the basic child support obligation will be prorated for each additional expense in proportion to the to a parent’s percentage share of the Total Family Income.  The additional expense is then added to the child support obligation.

Offset Based on Parenting Time

An adjustment or “offset” is available if a parent has the physical care of a child for at least 146 overnights a year (which calculates to overnight parenting time for 40% of the year). First the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to calculate the “shared care child support obligation.” Each parent’s child support obligation is determined by mutiplying each parent’s portion of the “shared care child support obligation” by the percentage of time the parent is allocated parenting time with the child(ren). The parent owing more pays the difference between the two amounts.

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