Recently, Illinois changed the way that child support is calculated by adopting the “income shares” model of child support. According to the income shares model, courts determine the amount of combined child support owed, by taking into account the combined income of the parents, the cost of living, and the number of children involved.

The next step is to determine how much each parent contributes. Basically, the child support is going to be based on who makes more, and whether one parent spends a lot more time with the child than the other parent. However, if both parents spend at least 146 overnights with the child, child support is calculated differently.

Illinois courts can deviate from the guidelines if the court finds that doing so would be in the best interest of the child. In order to determine whether deviation from the guidelines would be in the best interest of the child, courts weigh the following five factors:

1. The child’s own financial resources and needs;

2. Each parent’s financial resources and needs;

3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents not separated;

4. The physical and emotional health of the child; and

5. The child’s educational needs.

If one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court can consider that parent’s potential income to determine their child support obligation. You can go to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services website and use their child support calculator, to get an estimate of the amount of child support you may owe or receive. They also have other helpful resources to explain how the Income Shares Model works. To talk to an experienced attorney about your child support matter, please call The Evans Williams Law Group to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.

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