Family judges in Illinois follow the income shares model when they calculate child support. This means they consider the earnings of each parent when they determine what the noncustodial parent’s monthly obligation should be. Before this model was adopted, judges made child support decisions based on the net income of the noncustodial parent and the number of children requiring support.
Calculating child support in Illinois
Judges take the following steps when they determine how much child support a noncustodial parent in Illinois should pay:
- Calculate each parent’s net income using a gross income to net income conversion chart
- Combine the two net income figures to determine the parent’s combined net income
- Look up the combined net income on income shares chart to determine the appropriate monthly child support obligation
- Convert each parent’s net income into a percentage of the combined net income
- Multiply the monthly child support obligation by the noncustodial parent’s percentage of the combined net income
The income shares model
The income shares model is considered the fairest way to calculate child support because it is based on the amount that each parent would pay to raise a child if the couple lived together. The income shares chart judges in Illinois use to determine the appropriate monthly child support obligation reflects the cost of:
- Health care
- Extracurricular activities
Judges may consider costs not included on the chart when they make calculate child support in Illinois, but they must explain their reasons in writing when they deviate from the standard model.
The needs of the child
Child support is awarded in Illinois to make sure that the needs of children are met. The state now follows the income shares model to calculate child support because it is considered to be the fairest method.