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Who Pays Child Support if Parents Have Equal Custody in Illinois?

Posted on July 12, 2023 in Child Custody

Untitled-24.jpgWhen it comes to divorce and child custody cases, one of the most common questions that parents have is who will be responsible for paying child support. In Illinois, child support is calculated based on a number of factors, including the incomes of both parents and, in some cases, the amount of parenting time that each parent will have with their children. In cases involving "50/50" custody where children will spend equal or near-equal amounts of time with each parent, uncertainties may arise about who will be responsible for paying child support and how various child-related expenses will be shared by the parents. By understanding how Illinois law addresses these "shared parenting" situations, parents can make sure they will be able to address these financial issues correctly.

Child Support in Cases Involving Shared Physical Care

Illinois courts consider the incomes of both parents when calculating child support payments. Both parents are expected to provide for their children's financial needs, and a variety of different expenses may need to be addressed. In cases where children spend the majority of their time living with one parent, that parent will typically be able to receive ongoing child support payments, and the other parent will have the obligation to provide financial support for the children. However, determining how child support will be handled in cases involving equal custody will often be more complex.

Illinois law provides guidelines for calculating child support in cases involving "shared physical care," in which children will live with each parent for 40 percent of the time or more. That is, if children spend the night in each parent's home 146 or more days every year, this is considered shared physical care. In these cases, child support will be determined using the following steps:

  • A "basic child support obligation" will be set using a chart that lists an appropriate amount of child support based on the total amount of income earned by both parents and the number of children they share. For example, if the parents' net incomes added together totals $5,000 per month, and they share two children, the basic child support obligation will be $1,599.

  • The basic child support obligation is divided between the parents according to the percentage share of the couple's combined income that each parent earns. For example, if the father earns 55 percent of the couple's combined net income, and the basic child support obligation is $1,599, his share of the obligation would be $879.45, and the mother's share would be $719.55.

  • To account for the additional expenses of maintaining separate households, each parent's share of the basic support obligation is multiplied by 1.5. Each amount is then 

  • multiplied by the percentage of parenting time the other parent has with the children. For example, if a couple's children will be staying overnight with their mother for 170 days and their father for 195 days, the mother's child support obligation would be multiplied by 53.4 percent, and the father's obligation would be multiplied by 46.6 percent.

  • The amounts determined for each parent are offset. The smaller shared physical care obligation is subtracted from the larger obligation, and the resulting figure will be the amount that will be paid by the parent who has the higher shared physical care obligation. Using the example above, the father's share of the basic support obligation multiplied by 1.5 would be $1,319.18, and when this amount is multiplied by 46.6 percent, the father's shared physical care obligation would be $614.73. The mother's share of the basic support obligation multiplied by 1.5 would be $1,078.33, and when this amount is multiplied by 53.4 percent, the mother's shared physical care obligation would be $576.36. Subtracting $576.36 from $614.73 results in $38.37, which is the amount of child support that the father would pay to the mother.

Parents may need to address certain other types of child-related expenses, including the costs of health insurance and medical care for children, fees related to education and extracurricular activities, and the costs of childcare during the parents' working hours. Additional child-related expenses will typically be divided between parents according to the same percentages used above. That is, if the father earns 55 percent of the couple's combined net income, he would be responsible for 55 percent of the applicable expenses.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Support Lawyers

When addressing issues related to child support, courts in Illinois will consider a variety of factors, including the children's needs and the financial resources of each parent. Understanding how child support obligations are calculated can be crucial, and parents will need to make sure all relevant issues are considered as they determine how they will share the costs of raising their children. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our DuPage County child support attorneys can provide guidance during your divorce, helping you address financial issues correctly as you work to negotiate a settlement and complete the dissolution of your marriage. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our firm at 630-909-9114 and schedule a consultation.



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