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How is Child Support Calculated in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on January 21, 2021 in Child Support


When a married couple with children divorces, child support is typically ordered to help the parents share child-rearing costs. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder which parent will be the recipient and which parent will be the payor of child support. You may also want to know how much these child support payments will be. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the income shares model. Each parents’ income and other information is used to determine a child support payment amount that is fair, reasonable, and provides for the child’s needs.

Income Shares Model for Calculating Child Support

Prior to 2017, child support payments were calculated based solely on the paying spouse’s net income. Now, both parents’ net incomes are used to determine child support. Illinois adopted the Income Shares model for child support in order to hold both parents accountable for financially supporting their child. The new calculation method largely bases child support on the difference between the parents’ income. The closer the parents’ incomes are, the less the support payments will be.

Parenting time, formerly called visitation, refers to the time that a parent spends directly caring for their child. When both parents spends at least 146 overnights a year with the child, the parents are in a “shared parenting” arrangement. Because each parent is spending roughly the same amount of time caring for the child, child support payments are reduced. The amount of each parent’s parenting time is only factored into support calculations when each parent spends at least 146 overnights a year with the child.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Child support can only be changed in certain situations. Every three years, parents may request a “modification review” to determine whether or not the current child support order is still appropriate given each parent’s current circumstances. If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, you will need to request a modification review with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The agency will then evaluate each parent’s financial information and determine whether or not a modification is necessary. If it has been less than three years since a parent had an opportunity to request a modification review, he or she can only be granted a support modification if:

  • There has been a substantial change in either parent’s circumstances such as a job loss, or
  • The current child support order does not address the child’s healthcare coverage.

Our attorneys can help you determine if a seeking a modification is appropriate for your situation.

Contact an Illinois Family Lawyer

Child support disputes can be complex. For help establishing or modifying child support, and for legal assistance regarding other family law issues, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call our office at 630-665-2500 today and schedule a confidential consultation with a Wheaton family law attorney to discuss your needs.



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