When pursuing a dissolution of a marriage or even a temporary separation, how much you and your spouse should each contribute to raising your children may be a high priority. A skilled child support lawyer could help you determine how the child support laws may affect your specific situation in Bolingbrook.

Illinois Laws Regarding Child Support

As of July 2017, the child support laws in Illinois have changed significantly. Previously, the Illinois Code provided a simple answer for how much child support a non-custodial parent—or the parent without custody of the child—should pay: 20 percent of net income for one child, 28 percent for two children, 32 percent for three children, and 40 percent for four children. Currently, however, the system follows the examples of over forty other states in the country and uses an “income shares model.” This model utilizes the income of both parents when determining the appropriate level of support.

How Does the “Income Shares Model” Work?

In the simplest explanation, a court will determine the combined net income (after taxes) of you and your spouse. Then, the court will use a spreadsheet published by the State of Illinois to determine an estimated amount of money that is needed to raise your children on a monthly basis based upon your net income and number of children. Finally, the court will apportion responsibility for meeting those expenses relative to each spouse’s net income. For example, if you make 40 percent of the combined net income, you will be responsible for 40 percent of the monthly of the net monthly support and your spouse will be responsible for 60 percent of the net monthly support.

Under the “income shares model” of child support, the children of two divorced spouses should receive the same level of support that they would have received if both their parents were still married. As a result, whether one parent has custody or not is mostly irrelevant. In practical terms, this means that you would be legally obligated after a divorce to contribute a specified amount per month towards raising your children, regardless of whether you are the child’s primary caregiver.

Reviewing Older Child Support Agreements

If you currently have a child support agreement following the previous system—where a set percentage of a non-custodial parent’s gross income is set aside for child support each month—you may want to modify your child support arrangement. In order for your child support order to be eligible for modification, it must be eligible under the law.

Under Section 5/505 of the Illinois Code, a child support order can be modified only if a “substantial change in circumstances” occurs. Notably, the statute itself states that the issuance of new child support guidelines does not constitute a “substantial change in circumstances.” It may help to review your situation with a child support lawyer.

Talk to a Bolingbrook Child Support Attorney Today

Child support can be a complicated matter to negotiate and agree upon, especially if you and your spouse have different income levels and bore different levels of financial responsibility for your children during your marriage. If you are interested in learning more about how the child support guidelines in Bolingbrook could affect your own case, a child support lawyer from Reidy Law Office LLC could be of service. Call today to schedule a consultation.