Future child support cases to use widely accepted
Illinois will join majority of other states with new
approach starting July 1
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[June 28, 2017]
– The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
announced today that the most widely used method nationwide to
calculate child support will begin to be applied to new cases in
Illinois starting July 1, following a bipartisan law signed by
Governor Bruce Rauner last year. Child support orders established
before July 1, 2017 will not change.
Under the "income shares" model, child support
will be calculated primarily by looking at typical costs for
families in similar circumstances. The income of both parents will
also be factored in.
"With Illinois becoming the 40th state to adopt the income shares
model, we will be using an approach that has become increasingly
endorsed by experts and advocates in the field," said Felicia
Norwood, Director of the Department of Healthcare and Family
Currently, child support in Illinois is calculated primarily based
on the income of the obligor – the parent who owes payments – and
the number of children.
The income shares model considers the typical costs to raise a child
for a family at a similar income level as the parents in a case. If
there are two incomes, both are added together to arrive at the
amount needed to raise the child. Each parent's contribution is then
calculated by applying the methods laid out by the model. The
portion owed by the parent who the child lives with is assumed to be
paid because they reside together.
The General Assembly passed the income shares law in 2016, with
overwhelming bipartisan approval and the governor’s signature. Many
other states began shifting to income shares 10 years ago. The model
was developed under the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.
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Among the costs of raising a child that are taken into account
are housing, clothes, food, transportation, ordinary uncovered medical expenses,
ordinary extracurricular activities, entertainment and education. Judges may
also consider extraordinary circumstances in setting support.
"Illinois now joins 39 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the
income shares model for calculating child support," said Margaret Bennett, a
DuPage attorney and chair of the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee. "It
is both equitable and accurate thus reducing conflict among divorced or
never-married parents. Both parents and practitioners will find the new child
support process to be transparent, fair and equitable thus making it more likely
that parents will interact in a way that serves the best interests of their
The new guidelines will apply to all child support cases set beginning July 1,
2017, however, the change itself does not entitle a parent to a modification of
any current order of support.
HFS oversees the child support collection process statewide, regularly managing
around 500,000 cases annually. Child support services are free and anyone may
apply. Applications for service can be found at www.illinois.gov/hfs
More information on income shares, including FAQs and a calculator to help
individuals understand the impact of the change, can be found at
[Illinois Department of Healthcare
and Family Services]