Call to schedule an initial consultation
How Can a Parenting Time Schedule Affect Child Support Payments?
The amount of overnights per year that both parents each have with their child is now taken into consideration when calculating child support under the new statute.
A basic child support calculation will simply consider both parents’ respective gross incomes. However, if the parent with less parenting time (formerly called the “non-custodial parent”) has at least 146 overnights per year with the child by court order, this could affect the basic child support calculation. In many instances, it could result in a lower child support amount.
How the Child Support Calculation for Equal or Shared Parenting Time Works
Note: This formula is quite long. For a faster estimation, you can try the child support calculator/estimator.
- Both parents’ gross monthly incomes are entered into the gross to net monthly income conversion chart
For this example, the parties have one child, and Father is the parent with less parenting time. Under the chart, he is the “Parent With Duty to Support.”
Father: $5,000 gross income per month
Mother: $4,000 gross income per month
Father’s net monthly income from the chart: $3,759
Mother’s net monthly income from the chart: $3,177 (one child)
- The resulting numbers are then used to determine each parent’s percentage of the whole.
$3,759 + $3,177 = $6,936 combined total net income available for support
Father’s percentage of the whole: 54%
Mother’s percentage of the whole: 46%
- The combined total of both parents’ net incomes are applied to the income shares chart to obtain the basic child support obligation
$1,129 (for one child)
- The basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5
$1,129 x 1.5 = $1,693.50
- The resulting number from step 4 is multiplied by both parents’ percentages from step 2.
$1,693.50 x .54 = $914.49 Father’s share of child support obligation
$1,693.50 x .46 = $779.01 Mother’s share of child support obligation
- The number of overnights each parent has with the child under the parenting time schedule will be divided by 365. This will result in the percentage of overnights that each parent has with the child.
Father: 146 overnights with the child per year
Mother: 219 overnights with child per year
146/365 = 40% of overnights for Father
219/365 = 60% of overnights for Mother
- Mother’s percentage from step 6 is multiplied by Father’s number from step 5, and Father’s percentage from step 6 is multiplied by Mother’s number from step 5.
.60 x $914.49 = $548.69
.40 x $779.01 = $311.60
- The difference between the two numbers from step 7 results in the monthly child support amount. The higher-earning parent will pay this amount in child support to the lower-earning parent.
$548.69 – $311.60 = $237.09
Note: Calculations using the state child support estimator result in $240.48.
How Child Support Calculation for “Split Care” Works
“Split care” refers to when each parent has the majority of parenting time with at least one child. For example, the daughter lives primarily with Mother and the son lives primarily with Father.
- Calculate child support separately for Mother using the method here.
- Calculate child support separately for Father using the same method here.
- The difference between the two numbers calculated above will be the child support amount. The parent who owes more from the calculations above will pay this difference to the other parent.
Try the Child Support “Calculator”
As you can see, these calculations are even further complex than the new basic method for calculating Illinois child support. Luckily, the state has released an online Illinois child support calculator, or “estimator,” as it is more accurately described, which can provide an estimate of the basic child support amount. In this estimator, a parent can enter the amount of overnights he or she has with the child per year. Please note that this calculator provides an estimate only, which may vary from resulting calculation that is performed by a judge.
Keep in mind that if, when trying to establish the initial parenting time schedule, a parent is pushing for equal parenting time, or more than 146 overnights per year, a judge or Guardian Ad Litem may be suspicious that he or she is doing this specifically to lower the child support rate. Is it entirely plausible that a parent would want equal parenting time, not for financial reasons, but to maximize his or her time with the child? Of course. However, the first thought that will cross a judge’s or GAL’s mind will be the possibility that the parent may be requesting such a schedule to lower child support. At this point in history, equal parenting time is not a default schedule that Illinois courts revert to when establishing a parenting time schedule. Often, specific circumstances will have to exist in order to establish such a schedule, which can include, but are not limited to:
1) The parents living a short distance from one another
2) The parent’s work schedules allowing for equal parenting time
3) The child’s school and activity schedules allowing for equal time, and
4) The child being of the appropriate age for such a schedule.
Judges, Guardian Ad Litems, and legal practitioners differ in their views as to when a child would be of an appropriate age for an equal parenting time schedule. The point is, whether an equal parenting time schedule will be established will depend on the facts of each case.
Can I Change My Child Support Rate if I Have 146 or More Overnights?
Possibly. To modify child support, there must be a “substantial change in circumstances.” If, after the last child support order was entered, a new court order was entered granting more overnights to the parent with less parenting time, this could potentially qualify as a “substantial change.” However, if there has not been any substantial change in circumstances since the last court order (for example, there has not been a new court order granting 146 or more overnights for the parent who pays support), then a modification of child support would not be granted. The key concept is that a change has to occur after the last child support order was entered.
If you or someone you know is seeking legal representation on a child support matter in a Will County, Dupage County, or Kendall County case, call (815) 207-9570 to schedule an initial consultation with a child support attorney.
Call to schedule an initial consultation
The information on this site is not legal advice. Retain an attorney licensed in the state which has jurisdiction over your matter before taking any action which affects your legal issues, legal marital status or custody arrangements, and follow the advice of your retained lawyer.