Seven Illinois Child Care Support Changes for 2017
Seven Illinois Child Care Support Changes for 2017
By Ann Fischer
Families can expect several Illinois child care support changes when a new statute takes effect in July, 2017. The changes primarily having to do with the way in which child support will be calculated per family. If your child support situation is different this year, or if you are divorcing and will soon be structuring a child support agreement, it is important to be aware of the changes. You can review revised the statute entirety, 750ILCS 5/505, but in the meantime, here are some of the most important things you need to know:
- A SHARED INCOME MODEL CREATES ILLINOIS CHILD CARE SUPPORT CHANGES. The revised law uses a completely different model of shared net income to determine a non-custodial parent’s obligation. Previously, non-custodial parents were mandated to pay a fixed percentage of their income towards child support, but now that rate can deviate based on factors like parenting time and employment. The combined parental income is determined and the changes in Illinois child support will now be calculated based on the percentage of time that the non-custodial parent spends with the child. That percentage will be used to determine their child support. A document soon to be released from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will tell us exactly how the calculation will be done, with the help of tables of percentages and income figures.
- CORPORATE INCOME TO BE DISCLOSED. Another change in the child support calculation is the ability to scrutinize income from a parent’s company, if the other parent believes they are not honestly reporting their income. Formerly, this examination of corporate income was exempt from the rules of incorporation or LLC. However, the court can now approve “a citation to discover assets of the business”, and potentially find information to recalculate a more equitable child support agreement.
- HEALTHCARE IS MORE EQUITABLY DIVIDED. The new statute and forthcoming information from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will clarify how each child’s healthcare costs will be divided between parents. These Illinois child care support changes will be based on shared income as well as whether the parents have healthcare available or not.
- UNDEREMPLOYMENT IS CONSIDERED. If a non-custodial parent is unemployed or underemployed voluntarily, or deemed to be so by the court, they will have to pay their child support based on their potential income. If that can’t be calculated for some reason, income is presumed to be 75% of the poverty line for one person. This amounts to a minimum payment of $40/month unless the non-custodial parent has a disability or is incarcerated. If the result of this calculation is inequitable, the court can deviate but must provide a written opinion that addresses the basis for deviation.
- ALIMONY CALCULATIONS ARE CHANGED. A more recently enacted maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) statute calculates spousal support based on the shared income model concept as well. Another change is that if a spouse is receiving maintenance from the other spouse, that income will be included towards their child support calculation.
- MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES ARE CLARIFIED. One of the most beneficial aspects of the modified child support statute is that it provides clarification for what is considered “additional expenses” and not included in regular child support, such as specific extracurricular activities, education, camp, etc.. This is important because parents are not always in agreement about what expenses are necessary child care, (i.e. paying for summer camp). Now, expenses are defined as something that will “enhance the educational, athletic, social or cultural development of the child.” This language will help the court mediate disagreements between parents that arise from the Illinois child support changes.
- DEVIATIONS FROM NORMAL OBLIGATIONS ARE ALLOWED. When the non-custodial parent is with the children more than 40 percent of the time (approximately three days per week ), the court allows deviation from the normal child support obligation since they are spending more time with the children. The formula is complicated, but can help equitably divide parental and financial responsibility for the children.
At Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD we believe these changes are being made so that divorced or divorcing parents may come to a more equitable, flexible agreement over financial obligations that is an improvement upon the fixed rates of the past. We are still awaiting the calculation tables from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services before we will be able to judge whether parents, overall, are paying more or less than the fixed rates that were previously mandated.
The changes in this Illinois law will not affect you if you already have a child care support arrangement in place. However, if you have had a change in your parenting circumstances, you may be able to petition for a change under the new law.
Regardless of whatever takes place after the Illinois child care support changes take effect, our hope is that the ultimate result will be a more fairly determined means of support for the livelihood and well-being of every child who weathers divorce. At Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD we are very experienced in the area of family law, especially divorce and structuring child support agreements.