In Family Law

By Law Offices of Bonnie Alexander

Changes to the Illinois Child Support law went in to effect July 1, 2017. This post continues the discussion from Part 1.

Child support is now calculated by totaling the net incomes of both parents, and then determining what is called the Total Family Income. The Total Family Income is used, within published charts, to determine the amount in relation to each parent’s child support obligation. The new law also leaves room for child support amounts to be changed depending on shared parenting and parenting time. For example, if one parent cares for the child or children 146 overnights a year, the court may first multiply the basic child support obligation by 1.5 to calculate the “shared care child support obligation”.  Then, each of the parent’s child support obligation is calculated by multiplying each parent’s portion of the “shared care child support obligation” by the percentage of time the parent is allocated parenting time with the minor child or children.

The child support calculations will have general guidelines in the charts, and the calculations of yesterday will stay in the past. Illinois now joins a majority of states with this income share model. While the rest of the country has adjusted to the income share models, Illinois attorneys and parents have a long road ahead of them.

The enactment of the new law does not allow all parents to immediately petition for a modification of previously ordered support. Legislators ensured that one may petition for a modification only if there is a “substantial change in circumstance.” This could mean a new job or loss of job, or an increase in parenting time. It does not mean that you can petition for a change simply because you prefer the new law.

If you are a parent with questions about this new law and what it could mean for you, call our office for a free initial consultation. We can be reached at (312) 551-1112 or by email to

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