The average child support payment in the United States is $430 a month. This means that a parent could pay up to $92,880 to support a child to adulthood. However, a new Illinois law introduces new variables that could determine how much a noncustodial parent actually pays. These variables include the custodial parent's income and how much time a child spends with the noncustodial parent.
Beginning July 1, 2017 Illinois will use the income shares model for determining child support. This change is a dramatic shift from the simple former model which used a percentage of the payors net income to determine guideline child support and was largely blind to the recipient's income. The problems with the former model are well-told, however I believe the largest problem was that it failed to properly account for the recipient's income and the contributions both parties made to the child or children prior to breakdown of the marriage. The income shares model does just that. While it still fails to take into account the wildly different costs of living in various cities throughout Illinois, as well as the wildly different spending habits of families, the income shares model attempts to treat the payor of support more fairly while at the same time at least attempting to continue to provide the same support for the child or children that existed prior to the breakdown of the marriage. To do this, a simple percentage share of net income is inadequate. Instead, now the Courts will look at the combined income of both parents, determine the total contribution to be made to the child from both parents based upon that combined amount, and set the payor's support payment based upon a percentage determined by their income compared to the recipient's income. It sounds far more complex than it really is, but it is still without question more laborious than the former model. To compute support using the income shares model, the State of Illinois is releasing charts which set the combined support amount based upon the number of children (1-6) and net income, as well as a conversion chart which translates net income from gross. The charts were made available late last week and are still marked as drafts, however as July 1st quickly approaches it is likely that these charts either become the final model or closely resemble the final model. Click below to view these charts directly from the Illinois.gov website.