How Do Multiple Mothers Affect Child Support?

There are more divorces and people with multiple marriages than decades ago. If one of the relationships ends, the parent may need to make child support payments for kids in various households. Determining how child support is calculated in Illinois with multiple mothers is complex. This article explains how child support payments are made when there is more than one mother. If you have questions, our Chicago child support attorneys at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. can assist you.

What Does Illinois Child Support Cover?

Child support payments in the state are intended to provide financing for the child’s basic needs. These include food, clothing, and shelter. The payments also are designed for transportation, extracurricular activities, and medical expenses. Child support is also supposed to pay for each child’s health, dental, and vision care.

Illinois Child Support Overview

Illinois started to use an ‘income shares’ model in 2017 to determine child support payments. With this method, both parents’ income is combined. Then, the ‘basic child support obligation’ is decided based on this combined income and how many children they have.

The previous law used a flat percentage based on how many children there were. With the new law, these are the steps for determining child support:

  1. Determine each parent’s net income by putting their gross income through a gross-to-net conversion.
  2. Combine the net incomes of both parents to arrive at a combined net income.
  3. Determine what each parent’s net income shows the percentages of the combined net income.
  4. The combined net income is used on an income shares chart to come up with the basic child support obligation.
  5. The resulting number from step 4 is multiplied by percentages from step 3 for each parent.

The numbers that are arrived at are the child support obligation for each parent. The number of non-paying parents is usually the one with the child the most. It is assumed to have already been applied to that child. The number for the parent who pays will pay that amount to the parent who does not.

Multiple Mothers And Child Support In Illinois

Suppose one or both parents has a child from a previous relationship. In that case, a ‘multi-family adjustment’ will be made to their income before the basic child support obligation is calculated. The amount of child support paid for children from other relationships will be deducted from the income. The amount can vary based on whether there is a current child support order. If there is a child support order in place, the adjustment is what is paid under the order.

If there is no child support order in place, the adjustment is how much child support the person pays. Or, it will be 75% of what they would pay if the child support obligation was determined under current Illinois guidelines. Sometimes the family court judge will not make a multi-family adjustment if they think this would create a financial hardship for the child.

Consider a case where parents with one child are divorcing. The father has two children from a previous marriage. One of the children lives in his house, while the other lives with the mother. The child support paid by the father covers the child, that does not usually live in his home. Therefore, it will be deducted from the father’s income before child support is calculated during the divorce. But the adjustment is not made for the child that lives in the father’s house; he does not pay child support for the one living in his home.

There is no doubt that child support payment obligations are harder to understand when there are multiple mothers. However, your child support attorney can review your case and explain how the correct child support payment will be determined.

Illinois Child Support Is Still Determined For The Best Interest Of The Child

There are times when Illinois family courts will order child support payments that are different than the state minimums if the court determines that it is in the child’s best interests. The family court uses several factors to decide what the best interests of the child are:

  • The child’s financial needs
  • The needs and financial responsibilities of each parent
  • The child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
  • The standard of living the child had when the parents were together

When the court enters a child support order, it only can be changed if the court finds that circumstances warrant that a change is made. Also, a child support order is terminated when the child is 18 or graduates from high school. Finally, note that child support is an obligation and needs to be upheld even when there are other parental issues, including squabbles about visitation.

Illinois Child Support FAQs

What is the difference between Illinois’s old and new child support laws?

Before 2017, the parent’s child support obligation was decided by a flat percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income that went up based on how many children. However, in July 2017, the state changed the law to the ‘income shares’ model.

The new model finds that the total amount of child support both parents must pay is determined by economic guidelines established by the state. When the total child support amount is decided, it is divided between the parents based on their relative incomes. The person who pays the other depends on who is with the child the most.

How does shared custody affect Illinois child support payments?

The law in Illinois allows the family court judge that oversees child support to rely on a shared custody agreement to justify a change from the standard child support calculations. So, suppose the non-custodial parent shares some parenting time with the other parent. In that case, the judge could lower the child support obligation according to what the non-custodial parent spends when he is with the child.

How is child support affected when there are several child support obligations?

If the one paying child support has child support obligations to different parents, the first child support order reduces the person’s net income in calculating the other child support order. However, the second order does not reduce the payment. Therefore, which child support order was entered first is what matters.

What happens if the parent is remarried?

When one of the parents remarries, many people assume this affects child support payments. However, a parent remarrying does not usually affect child support. This is because the new spouse does not have a legal obligation to use their income to support the child.

How are high medical costs viewed regarding Illinois child support?

Illinois has guidelines for how a child’s extraordinary medical expenses are handled. They are separate from and in addition to child support. Extraordinary medical costs are usually related to hospital visits, illness, and expensive medical or cosmetic procedures.

The state treats these medical expenses as a permissive deduction for the basic child support obligation. This means if the non-custodial parent covers childcare expenses, the judge could order that part of the childcare expenses each month of the custodial parent be deducted from the child support payment from the non-custodial parent. Likewise, if the custodial parent covers childcare, the judge can order the other parent to pay part of the child’s daycare costs and essential child support.

How is child support affected by underemployment or unemployment?

The incomes of each parent determine child support. What happens if one of the parents is unemployed or underemployed? The court usually looks at the parent’s potential income instead of actual income.

The court has to decide if the parent is voluntarily or involuntarily underemployed or unemployed. If it is voluntary, the court will determine what is in the child’s best interests. If the parent is voluntarily short of work or out of work and it is not in the child’s best interests, the court will decide what the parent’s income would be if he were working.

How does the state enforce child support payments?

In Illinois, the state child support agency enforces child support payments. The agency finds non-custodial parents to ensure they pay child support. The agency also enforces support orders and unpaid, back child support payments.

Do Child Support Payments Cover College Education Costs in Illinois?

The law in Illinois allows the court to order the non-custodial parent to pay for some of the child’s college education when he graduates from high school. In addition, post-secondary education support may be ordered, depending on the situation.

Speak To Our Chicago Child Support Attorney Today

Every child support case in Illinois is different. That is why it is essential to work with a Chicago child support attorney who understands the finer details of Illinois child support laws. A skilled child support lawyer offers the best legal advice to deal with child support matters, and they can help you avoid expensive mistakes. If you have questions about child support, one of our Chicago child support attorneys at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. can help. Please contact our Chicago child support attorney today for assistance at (847) 241-1299.

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