In 2017, Illinois child support regulations experienced a substantial alteration – it is vital for both custodial and non-custodial parents to comprehend these modifications. In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of the updated Illinois child support guidelines and how they impact parenting time arrangements.

We’ll delve into the factors considered under the new law, including income calculations for both parties involved. Additionally, we’ll discuss the importance of parenting time in determining child support obligations and highlight some strategies to increase it legally and ethically.

Through a case study involving Tom and James’ scenario, you’ll gain insight into real-life situations where modifying existing agreements can lead to better outcomes for all parties concerned. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential drawbacks when pursuing reduced payments – which is why seeking professional guidance from an experienced attorney specializing in Illinois child support matters is highly recommended.

Understanding the 2017 Child Support Law Change in Illinois

In 2017, the child support law changed in Illinois to take into account both parents’ incomes and calculate child support based on time spent with each parent. This change has a significant impact on how much one may pay or receive as it now factors in shared parenting time arrangements. In this section, we will discuss the factors considered under the new law and how income is calculated for both parties.

Factors considered under the new law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) introduced an “income shares” model for calculating child support payments. Under this model, both parents’ net incomes are combined to determine their total financial responsibility for raising their children. The court then uses guidelines established by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to calculate each parent’s share of that responsibility.

  • Gross Income: Both parents’ gross income from all sources is taken into consideration when determining child support obligations.
  • Deductions: Certain deductions such as taxes, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, and health insurance premiums paid for dependents can be subtracted from gross income before calculating net income.
  • Credit for Other Children: If either parent has other children outside of their current relationship who they financially support through court-ordered agreements or actual expenditures made directly towards those children’s needs can also be deducted from their respective gross incomes before arriving at the net income.

How income is calculated for both parties

To calculate each parent’s share of the total financial responsibility, their individual net incomes are combined and then divided by the number of children involved. The resulting percentage represents each parent’s portion of the child support obligation. Combining Parent A’s $60,000 and Parent B’s $40,000 net incomes yields a total of $100,000. If they have two children together:

  1. Parent A would be accountable for a majority of the annual child support payments, which amounts to $30,000 based on their respective net incomes.
  2. Parent B would be responsible for 40% ($40,000/$100,000) or $20,000 annually in child support payments.

The court will also consider other factors such as childcare expenses incurred due to employment or job search activities; educational expenses like tuition fees; extracurricular activity costs; medical care not covered by insurance when determining additional contributions from either parent towards these specific needs on top of their basic child support obligations.

In conclusion, the 2017 child support law change in Illinois takes into account both parents’ incomes and shared parenting time arrangements. The court uses an “income shares” model to calculate each parent’s share of the total financial responsibility for raising their children. The court also considers other factors when determining additional contributions from either parent towards specific needs on top of their basic child support obligations.

The 2017 Child Support Law Change in Illinois is an important step forward for divorced couples with children, as it ensures that both parties are treated fairly and equitably. With this new law, the importance of parenting time has become increasingly clear; understanding how to calculate child support based on nights spent can help families make informed decisions about their futures.

The Importance of Parenting Time in Calculating Child Support

Illinois’ new child support statute makes parenting time a critical factor in determining the amount of money one parent must pay to another. If both parents spend more than 146 overnights per year with their children, there’s a significant change in how child support is calculated. More parenting time can lead to reduced payments by taking advantage of this threshold.

The difference between having 145 vs. 146 nights per year

In cases where each parent has at least 146 overnights with their children annually, the courts use a different formula for calculating child support known as the Shared Physical Care Formula. This method takes into account both parents’ incomes and adjusts payments based on each party’s percentage share of total parenting time. In contrast, when one parent has less than 146 overnights per year, they are typically required to pay a higher amount under the traditional calculation method.

Benefits of increased parenting time for all parties involved

  • Better financial balance: By increasing your number of overnight stays with your children above the threshold (i.e., from 145 to at least 146), you may be able to reduce your monthly child support payment significantly while still providing adequate financial resources for your kids.
  • Improved emotional well-being: Increased quality time spent together strengthens bonds between parents and children and promotes healthy relationships within families during challenging times like divorce or separation.
  • Fairness: The Shared Physical Care Formula aims to ensure that both parents contribute fairly towards raising their children based on income levels and actual involvement in childcare responsibilities.

Tom and James had to ensure that any changes in parenting time arrangements were tailored towards their children’s emotional and developmental needs, prioritizing a loving, nurturing environment. While financial benefits may arise from increased parenting time, it is essential not to let these factors overshadow what truly matters – providing a loving, nurturing environment for your kids.

Case Study – Tom and James’ Child Support Scenario

In this real-life example, we will demonstrate how increasing parenting time from 145 nights per year to just an additional 18 nights (totaling at least 146) can save up to $112,320 over the course of raising a child due to lowered monthly payments ($732 down to $212).

Details about Tom and James’ situation before modifying their arrangement

Tom has primary custody of his two children while James pays child support based on Illinois guidelines. With only 145 overnight stays per year with his kids, James was required under the traditional calculation method to pay $732 per month in child support.

Results after implementing changes

To reduce his monthly payment without compromising his children’s well-being or violating legal requirements, James worked collaboratively with Tom through mediation services provided by Illinois State Bar Association Mediation Services. They agreed upon an updated schedule that allowed for more equitable distribution of childcare responsibilities. By reaching at least 146 overnights annually with both parents involved equally in caring for their kids financially and emotionally – they were able not only to lower costs but also to foster healthier relationships within the family unit as a whole during difficult times like divorce and separation.

When determining child support, the amount of parenting time should be taken into account as it can significantly affect the financial contribution. To illustrate this, we will now look at an example from Tom and James’ case study.

Case Study – Tom and James’ Child Support Scenario

In order to better understand the impact of Illinois’ 2017 child support law change, let’s take a look at a real-life example involving two parents, Tom and James. This case study demonstrates how increasing parenting time from 145 nights per year to just an additional 18 nights (totaling at least 146) can save up to $112,320 over the course of raising a child due to lowered monthly payments.

Details about Tom and James’ Situation Before Modifying Their Arrangement

Tom is the primary custodial parent for their son while James has visitation rights. Prior to modifying their arrangement, they agreed on shared parenting time with James having his son for approximately 145 overnight stays per year. Under this agreement, based on both parents’ incomes as well as other factors considered by Illinois state guidelines, it was determined that James would pay $732 in monthly child support.

Results After Implementing Changes

To reduce his financial burden without compromising their son’s best interests, James sought legal advice regarding ways he could increase his number of overnight stays ethically and legally. By working together with Tom through mediation sessions facilitated by experienced family law attorneys like those at The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan, they were able to reach an amicable agreement where both parties felt comfortable with the new arrangement.

  • New Agreement: In addition to spending more quality time with his son during the day, James was able to increase his overnight stays from 145 nights per year to a total of 163.
  • Child Support Payments: With the new agreement in place and taking into account both parents’ incomes, James’ monthly child support payments were recalculated under Illinois law. The result was a significant reduction in his obligation, bringing it down from $732 per month to just $212.

The alteration not only let James economize, but also enabled him and Tom to form a more positive relationship as they worked towards their son’s welfare. Over the course of raising their child until he reaches adulthood (assuming no other changes are made), this modification would lead to an estimated savings of approximately $112,320 ($520 x 12 months x 18 years) for James while still providing adequate financial support for their son’s needs.

In cases like Tom and James’, understanding how parenting time affects child support calculations can be crucial when seeking modifications that benefit all parties involved. By working collaboratively with experienced family law attorneys who understand Illinois’ legal system, parents can find solutions that meet everyone’s needs without resorting to contentious disputes or unethical practices.

Tom and James’ case study demonstrates the importance of making modifications to existing child support arrangements when needed. By exploring collaborative approaches through mediation or negotiation, as well as modifying existing custody agreements amicably, parents can increase their parenting time legally and ethically.


Important Takeaway:

Tom and James’ child support scenario demonstrates the impact of Illinois’ 2017 law change, where increasing parenting time by just 18 nights can save up to $112,320 in lowered monthly payments. By working collaboratively with experienced family law attorneys like those at The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan, parents can find solutions that meet everyone’s needs without resorting to contentious disputes or unethical practices.

Strategies for Increasing Parenting Time Legally & Ethically

In the pursuit of reducing child support payments, it’s essential to increase parenting time in a legal and ethical manner. This emphasizes that your actions must be compliant with the regulations of Illinois and should also focus on what is best for your children. Here are some strategies for increasing overnight stays without resorting to unethical practices or contentious legal disputes.

Collaborative Approaches through Mediation or Negotiation

Mediation is an effective method for resolving custody issues amicably, as it involves working with a neutral third party who can help both parents reach a mutually agreeable arrangement. By engaging in open communication and compromise during mediation sessions, you may be able to secure additional parenting time while maintaining positive relationships with your co-parent.

Negotiating directly with your co-parent is another option if both parties are willing to engage in productive discussions about modifying existing arrangements. It’s important to approach these conversations calmly and respectfully, focusing on finding solutions that benefit all parties involved – especially the children.

For more on the mediation process, check out our previous blog on mediation.

Modifying Existing Custody Agreements Amicably

For a successful outcome, it is advisable to discuss potential modifications with your co-parent before resorting to legal action. In many cases, parents can come together to modify their agreements voluntarily, provided they remain focused on what’s best for their children.

  • Demonstrate flexibility: Be open-minded when proposing changes and express willingness to accommodate the other parent’s needs and concerns.
  • Provide valid reasons: Explain how increased parenting time will benefit your children, such as by providing additional emotional support or opportunities for bonding.
  • Offer solutions: Propose specific modifications to the existing agreement that would allow for more overnight stays while still respecting the other parent’s rights and responsibilities.

If necessary, the courts may need to be petitioned for a formal modification of your custody agreement. This process typically involves demonstrating a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued – such as changes in work schedules or living arrangements – that warrant an adjustment in parenting time. If you’re thinking of going down this route, it’s wise to seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney who can guide you through the process and be your advocate.

When considering strategies for increasing parenting time legally and ethically, it is important to weigh the benefits of a collaborative approach against potential drawbacks. Potential challenges when pursuing reduced payments should also be considered in order to ensure both financial stability and emotional well-being.


Important Takeaway:

To reduce child support payments, increasing parenting time legally and ethically is crucial. Collaborative approaches such as mediation or negotiation can help parents reach a mutually agreeable arrangement without resorting to contentious legal disputes. Modifying existing custody agreements amicably by demonstrating flexibility, providing valid reasons, and offering solutions can also be effective in securing additional parenting time for the benefit of the children involved.

Potential Drawbacks & Challenges When Pursuing Reduced Payments

While the pursuit of reducing child support payments may seem like a financially beneficial decision, it is essential to carefully consider potential drawbacks and challenges that might come with such changes. Strained relationships or legal complications can arise if not handled properly. Before making any modifications to your parenting time or child support agreement, weigh the pros and cons thoroughly.

Balancing Financial Benefits with Emotional Well-Being

Reducing child support payments by increasing parenting time could lead to significant financial savings in some cases. However, it is crucial to remember that your children’s emotional well-being should always be the top priority. Increasing parenting time for purely financial reasons may negatively impact your relationship with both your ex-spouse and children.

To avoid this issue, focus on creating a parenting plan that genuinely benefits all parties involved while still taking advantage of possible reduced payment opportunities. Contemplate how to gain the utmost from extended parenting time by promoting closer ties with your children and guaranteeing their requirements are met.

Legal Challenges in Modifying Existing Agreements

If you are considering modifying an existing custody agreement or pursuing reduced child support payments through increased parenting time, be prepared for potential legal challenges along the way. For instance:

  • Your ex-spouse might contest proposed changes due to concerns about stability or consistency for the children.
  • A judge may require substantial evidence proving that increasing overnight stays is truly in the best interest of your kids before approving any modifications.
  • In some cases, courts might view attempts at reducing child support payments as an effort to shirk financial responsibilities, which could negatively impact your case.

It is essential to approach any modifications with a clear understanding of the Illinois child support laws and potential challenges you might face during the process.

Navigating Emotional Strain & Communication Challenges

Increasing parenting time or modifying existing custody agreements can be emotionally challenging for everyone involved. It may require additional communication and cooperation between co-parents, which can be difficult if there are unresolved conflicts or strained relationships. To minimize emotional strain:

  1. Maintain open lines of communication with your ex-spouse regarding any proposed changes.
  2. Be willing to compromise on certain aspects of the new arrangement to maintain a positive co-parenting relationship.
  3. Consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce and family dynamics if necessary.

It is important to weigh the potential drawbacks and challenges of pursuing reduced payments against the emotional well-being of all parties involved before making any decisions. With that in mind, seeking professional guidance for child support modifications can help ensure a fair outcome.


Important Takeaway:

When pursuing reduced child support payments, it is important to consider potential drawbacks and challenges such as legal complications or strained relationships. While financial benefits may be tempting, the emotional well-being of your children should always be a top priority. Modifying existing agreements can also lead to legal challenges and navigating communication with your ex-spouse can be emotionally challenging, so maintaining open lines of communication and seeking professional help if necessary is crucial.

Seeking Professional Guidance for Child Support Modifications

Navigating the intricacies of child support regulations and modifications can be difficult, making it essential to get assistance from qualified family law attorneys who are aware of Illinois’ legal framework. In this section, we will discuss the importance of hiring a knowledgeable attorney and how they can help negotiate or mediate custody arrangements.

Importance of Hiring a Knowledgeable Attorney

Hiring an attorney with expertise in Illinois child support laws is essential for several reasons:

  • Understanding the nuances: A skilled lawyer will have in-depth knowledge about recent changes to Illinois child support laws and their implications on your specific case.
  • Negotiating skills: An experienced attorney has honed negotiation skills that can help you reach an amicable agreement with your ex-spouse without resorting to litigation.
  • Avoiding costly mistakes: Attempting to navigate the complex legal landscape alone may lead to errors that could result in unfavorable outcomes or financial losses. A knowledgeable attorney ensures all necessary steps are taken correctly.
  • Saving time and stress: Handling child support matters on your own can be emotionally draining and time-consuming. Enlisting the help of a specialist can provide you with extra time to concentrate on what is really important – providing care for your kids during this trying period.

How an Attorney Can Help Negotiate or Mediate Custody Arrangements

Experienced family law attorneys can assist in various ways to help you reach a fair and equitable child support arrangement:

  • Mediation: An attorney can act as a neutral third party, facilitating communication between both parents to find common ground and develop an agreement that serves the best interests of the children. Learn more about mediation.
  • Negotiation: If mediation is not suitable or unsuccessful, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with your ex-spouse’s legal counsel to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.
  • Court representation: In cases where negotiations fail, and court intervention becomes necessary, an experienced attorney will represent you effectively during hearings or trials, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process.
  • Custody modification assistance: Should circumstances change after finalizing custody arrangements (e.g., job loss or relocation), an attorney can guide you through modifying existing agreements in accordance with Illinois laws. Find out more about custody modifications.

In conclusion, if you need assistance with child support, Illinois child support laws, child support obligation, pay child support, child support order, stop paying child support, child support payments, child support services, child support calculated, calculate child support, terminate child support, Illinois department, Illinois courts, non-custodial parent, custodial parent, child turns 18, family services, parenting time, child’s parents, child graduates, court order, spousal maintenance, or any other related matter, contact The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

FAQs in Relation to Illinois Child Support

What is the new law on child support in Illinois?

The 2017 child support law change in Illinois introduced an income shares model, which considers both parents’ incomes and parenting time when calculating child support payments. This approach aims to more fairly distribute financial responsibilities between parents, taking into account factors such as each parent’s income, number of children, and overnight stays.

What is the average child support payment in Illinois?

The average child support payment in Illinois varies based on individual circumstances. Payments are calculated using the Illinois Child Support Guidelines, which consider factors like combined parental income, parenting time allocation, and number of children involved. To estimate your potential payment amount, you can use this online calculator.

Will there be new child support laws in Illinois in 2023?

It is uncertain whether any significant changes to existing laws will occur by 2023; however, it’s essential to stay informed about updates or revisions that may affect your situation. The best way to keep up-to-date with current legislation is by consulting a knowledgeable attorney or checking resources like the Illinois General Assembly website.

What are grounds for modifying child support payments in Illinois?

In order for a court to modify existing child-support arrangements under 750 ILCS 5 /510(a), a significant change in circumstances must be demonstrated. This can include substantial changes in either parent’s income, parenting time allocation, or the child’s needs. Additionally, if three years have passed since the last modification or review, a court may consider an adjustment.


In conclusion, understanding the Illinois Child Support Laws is crucial for anyone going through a divorce. Factors considered under the law and how income is calculated for both parties can greatly impact child support payments. Additionally, parenting time plays an important role in calculating child support and can benefit all parties involved.

If you are seeking to modify your custody agreement or pursue reduced payments, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks and challenges. Seeking professional guidance from a knowledgeable attorney can help navigate these complexities and ensure that your emotional well-being is balanced with financial benefits.

For more information on Illinois Child Support modifications, schedule a consult with us.