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Kane County Child Support Lawyer

Kane County Child Support Lawyers

Family Law Attorneys Explain the Income Shares Method  to St. Charles and Geneva Clients

For both newly-divorcing and long-divorced parents, child support can be one of your biggest expenses or sources of income. It is also an expense that is tightly governed by Illinois law.

The experienced divorce lawyers of Weiler & Lengle P.C. fully appreciate the financial and emotional challenges of splitting a child's time and expenses between two households. Because we focus our practice exclusively on marital and family law, we are fluent in the nuances of Illinois child support law, which has changed substantially in recent years.

You can rely on us to make sure your child support order is as fair to you as possible. We carefully review all calculations to ensure that both parties' income is properly calculated, that non-cash contributions such as health insurance are factored in, and that unreasonable expenses requested by your co-parent are not added to your burden.

We can also represent you in matters of missed child support payments, review and modification of child support orders, and enforcement of child support.

How Illinois Calculates Child Support: The Income Shares Method

Child support rules are codified in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/505. Illinois joined the majority of states in adopting the Income Shares method of calculating child support effective July 1, 2017. The current Illinois child support and spousal maintenance guidelines took effect on January 1, 2019.

Under the Income Shares method, the total child support obligation is divided between the parents based on each party's share of their combined income and their relative responsibility for the child's physical care. The parent with the primary physical care of the child will be the recipient of the cash payment of child support.

Additional adjustments not shown here may apply in your situation, but the basic calculation works like this:

  1. Determine each parent's net income per month, which is roughly equal to gross income from all sources minus income tax, Social Security or self-employment tax, and Medicare taxes. To illustrate, assume Mom has a net income of $1,900 per month and Dad has a net income of $5,700 per month, for a combined net income of $7,600 per month.
  2. Use the parents' combined net income per month and the number of children being supported to find the state's estimate of the basic child support obligation per month. For parents with a combined net income of $7,600 per month, basic support per month is $1,215 for one child, using the 2019 tables.
  3. Calculate each parent's income-based fair share. Mom's net income makes up 25% of their combined net income ($1,900/$7,600), so Mom would be responsible for 25% of the $1,215 basic support amount, or $303.75. Dad would be responsible for the remaining 75%, or $911.25.
  4. Forecast non-basic expenses for the child's health insurance, education, extracurricular activities, and child care as necessary for a parent's education and/or employment. Suppose these costs total $400 per month. These costs are prorated in the same fashion as basic support, with Mom responsible for $100 and Dad for $300. Thus, the child's total monthly support comes to $1,615, with Mom responsible for $403.75 and Dad for $1,211.25. Assuming Mom has primary physical care of the child, Dad should pay her $1,211.25 per month.

If each parent has care of the child for at least 146 overnights per year, this is known as shared physical care (some might call it joint custody) and additional calculations would be required.

Termination and Discretionary Elements of Child Support

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support? Child support orders should specify a date on which the current support obligation terminates. This date may not be earlier than the child's 18th birthday. If the child is still attending high school when they turn 18, support may terminate no earlier than the child's high school graduation date or the child's 19th birthday, whichever comes first. Any past-due child support remains payable even after the child support order terminates.

Is There a Limit on How Much Child Support I Can Be Forced to Pay? The combination of child support and maintenance payments may not exceed 50% of the payor's net income. Private school tuition and extracurricular activities are not considered mandatory child support under the law, but the court may include them in a child support order when the expenses are "reasonable" and "enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child."

Do I Have to Pay College Expenses? You and your co-parent may develop a joint agreement on this matter for court approval. If you cannot agree, the court may award money out of the property and income of either or both parents "as equity may require" for a child's post-high school education. In Illinois, this amount is capped at the current cost for tuition, room and board for the University of Illinois.

Child Support Lawyers in St. Charles, Illinois

Child support may be one of your biggest ongoing expenses after a divorce. It is well worth your while to make sure all calculations are accurate and fair to you. The experienced divorce attorneys of Weiler & Lengle P.C. are fully versed in the latest child support guidelines. We will do our utmost to protect the best interests of both you and your children. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-382-8050. We serve clients in Kane County including the communities of Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Pingree Grove, and St. Charles.

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