Illinois Child Support and Noncustodial Parents

Illinois Child Support Payment Guidelines

In the state of Illinois, parents have a duty to financially support their minor children. Typically, this results in the noncustodial parent paying child support to the custodial parent. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act gives minimum guidelines when it comes to figuring out child support payments. While these calculations are just guidelines, it is rare that a Judge will stray too far away from these standards.

Following changes to Illinois law which took effect in July 2017, the guidelines for child support payments in Illinois are no longer based solely on the income of the non-custodial parent. The courts will now take the net incomes of both parents into account and will also consider each parent's amount of parental responsibility and parenting time with their children. Typically, the net income is the payer’s gross income minus the following payments: federal income taxes, state income taxes, social security, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, dependent and individual health insurance premiums, life insurance premiums ordered by the court, and prior obligations of support or maintenance paid pursuant to court order and foster care payments which are paid by the Department of Children and Family Services.

Custodial vs. Noncustodial Parents

A noncustodial parent is the parent who does not live with the children. Often times, noncustodial parents face many challenges as they try to remain active in their children’s lives. It is rare that a parent willingly steps into a noncustodial parenting role. In most cases a noncustodial parent is placed in that role by a court order. Noncustodial parents can often face a substantial financial burden in addition to the reduced time spent with their children. All of these complications can make it very difficult for the noncustodial parent to maintain an on-going relationship with their children. The basic idea surrounding child support payments between custodial and noncustodial parents is to ensure that the lifestyle of the children is maintained as if the divorce or separation never happened.

Noncustodial Parent Receives Child Support in Illinois

Illinois law says the courts may order ...either parent... to pay child support to the custodial parent. Almost without exception, that has meant the non-residential parent paid child support to the residential parent. A recent groundbreaking case could set the precedence for noncustodial parents to receive child support in certain circumstances. In many cases the noncustodial parent is the father. In the particular case, In re Marriage of Turk, 2013 IL App (1st), the father was the residential or custodial parent.

The father, Steven, obtained residential custody of his two children and the mother, Iris, was then awarded child support even though she was the noncustodial parent. This is the first published case in the state of Illinois to ever have the residential or custodial parent pay child support to the noncustodial parent. Two important circumstances surrounding this case are that it revolved around special financial circumstances and the non-custodial parent did spend substantial time with her children.

Steven and Iris had an on-going legal battle prior to Steven being granted custodial parenting rights. Iris gave a statement of her “children’s expenses” which included clothing, grooming, education, medical, allowance, child-care, clubs, summer camps, vacations, entertainment and other various activities. Steven argued that he was the sole custodial parent and the children spent 75% of the total parenting time with him. He further argued that there was no basis in the law to award a noncustodial parent child support and that any money he paid Iris would be considered maintenance.

After hearing both sides of the argument, the trial court stated that the facts of the case were unique as there was a post-decree shift in custody from the Iris to Steven. On July 26, 2012 the trial court entered a written order on Steven’s petition to terminate child support and the mother’s answer and affirmative defense. The court said that Steven has sole custody of both children, but both parents shared parenting time of their younger child equally, while time with the older child was not equal. With that said, Steven earned around $150,000 a year while Iris was minimally employed and earned less than $10,000 per year. Based on these findings, the court ordered Steven to pay Iris $600 per month for child support and also ordered him to also pay for all uncovered medical expenses including dental, orthodontic, psychological, and optical. The money that Steven paid to Iris helped enable proper care of the children while the children were in her care.

Illinois Fathers Rights

This precedence set by this revolutionary child support case might help provide a solid argument for noncustodial parents as well as further support father’s rights in Illinois. This case demonstrates that in certain circumstances there are ways to get around the current child support laws while keeping the children’s best interests in mind.

Whether or not any of these exceptions will apply in your Illinois child support case will depend on various factors. Contact experienced DuPage attorney, Matthew M. Williams, to determine what your options and rights are for your family law matter. Call our office at 630-409-8184 or fill out the online contact form.

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