Illinois Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
In Illinois, the amount of child support is figured based on income shares, and parenting time doesn’t factor into the formula.
Illinois courts may consider deviating from the strict child support guidelines on a case-by-case basis when the non-residential parent’s visitation time greatly exceeds what is considered customary. Accurate parenting time numbers can directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Illinois attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to add up hours for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.
The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total parenting time, and you can see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Illinois family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. In many states, physical custody has an impact on the amount of child support, but not in Illinois.
Illinois sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to visitations. Sole custody means that one parent is the custodial parent and is the head of the home where the children live most of the time. The non-residential parent is entitled to visitation with the children.
Illinois joint physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. The newest joint custody law adopted by Illinois occurred in 1986 resulting in the term joint custody. There is no distinction between “joint legal custody” and “joint physical custody.”
In Illinois, the child support formula is the same for sole and joint physical custody. Unlike many other states, Illinois gives no automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.
The child support guidelines provide percentages of the payor's net income, based on the number of children:
- 1 child = 20% of net income
- 2 children = 28% of net income
- 3 children = 32% of net income
- 4 children = 40% of net income
- 5 children = 45% of net income
- 6 children = 50% of net income
Illinois family courts decline to put a dollar amount on non-residential parent spending time with their children, and currently do not tie compensation or credits to figuring child support amounts.
Your best chance for reduced child support is to show the court that your parenting time will greatly exceed what is standard to approve. More parenting time may mean abatement in child support. Illinois family courts make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Illinois law allows for exceptions to be made in the child support amount if you can show you qualify for special consideration.
The law states that the court may deviate from the standard child support guidelines when it finds extraordinary time spent with the non-custodial parent, or shared or joint custody arrangements. While this scenario is rare, at least you can present the court with accurate numbers.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month after allowable deductions. They have two children.
Here are the steps to figure out their child support amount:
- Step 1: The Illinois family court has determined that Robert will be the non-custodial parent. In Illinois, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent.
- Step 2: After certain allowable deductions, Robert’s adjusted income is $3,400 per month. Mary’s income does not figure into the child support formula.
- Step 3: According to the Illinois Monthly Family Support Chart, the total child support obligation for Robert as the non-custodial parent earning $3,400 per month is $952.
If Mary were the non-residential parent she would pay monthly child support to Robert.
Illinois’s child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for joint custody child support:
- The non-residential parent’s adjusted monthly income
- The number of children under the age of 18 or upon graduation from high school, whichever is last.
- The cost of health insurance premiums for the children
- A pre-existing child support or alimony obligation by either parent
Parenting time only figures into a child support formula when you can show that your total parenting time is substantially in excess of what is usually approved by the Illinois family courts.
Even then, Illinois courts have avoided setting up a specific formula that includes parenting time so as not to put a dollar amount on visitations.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent’s responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Illinois law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Illinois, remember these 5 things:
- Illinois figures child support amounts based on a strict income formula outlined by 750 ILCS 5/505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. It includes numbers such as gross monthly income and health care premiums for the children.
- Illinois law may allow the courts to deviate from the guidelines when shared physical custody or visitation rights are substantially in excess of those customarily approved or ordered. However, such deviations are rare.
- To show the court your accurate parenting time numbers, you must provide calculations to the hour of your actual parenting time and show how that compares to your county’s parenting time guidelines.
- A Illinois family court may agree to an abatement of child support due to above average parenting time that exceeds the county's customary visitation guidelines.
- Illinois courts don’t rely on a formula for shared custody child support amounts in order to discourage disputes over parenting time solely to make changes to child support amounts.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a Illinois family court