So, What’s the Income Shares Model?

If you were divorced before July 1, 2017 or are still in the process of getting divorced, the income shares model of child support will apply to your case. And, while some are uncertain about the change, Illinois is the 40th state to adopt this model. As such, you can have confidence knowing that this model is in the best interest of both you, and your family.

In this article, we’ll give a basic overview of what the income shares model is about, how it works, and adjustments made to the model based on parenting time.

What Does “Income Shares” Mean? 

If you were divorced before July 1, 2017, you know that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) established child support based on set percentages. In fact, it used the same percentage formula since 1984. For example, if you had one child, child support would typically be 20 percent of the parent’s net income. If there were two children, the support total would increase to 28 percent, and so on.

The problem with this system is that it doesn’t consider the actual costs of raising children or how costs should be divided between parents. Instead, it awards a set percentage without considering how each parent may have contributed to these costs. As such, child support was a major issue in cases because the parent obligated to pay did not believe it was fair. However, because it was set forth by statute, there was not much attorneys could do about it.

The income shares model is different because it is based on several factors beyond just the income of a parent. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Monthly income, including all sources (maintenance also included);
  • Tax considerations;
  • Number of children;
  • Additional expenses; and
  • Parenting time, among others

How the Income Shares Model Works 

The income shares model works by first determining how much is to be paid as child support. This means determining the combined value of child support both parents should be paying based on their incomes and how much their individual incomes make up the total household income. The basic support obligation is determined according to a schedule set forth by the state and references the net income of both parents with the number of children they have.

This basic child support amount is increased pursuant to additional expenses the court orders and the percentage a parent contributes to the net income. Additional expenses may include extracurricular activities, school expenses, child care costs, health insurance premiums, outstanding medical expenses, and other, child care-related expenses.

The model’s greatest asset is that it considers what both parents have contributed as child support to determine how much each parent should pay.

Deviations from the Model Based on Shared Parenting 

Because parenting time is a substantial factor in the income shares model, if both parents have at least 146 overnights with the children per year, there’s a deviation from the standard income shares model.

This deviation involves two steps:

  1. The basic support obligation is multiplied by 1.5, since both parents will be spending more in this parenting situation; and
  2. Support amounts are adjusted according to the percentage of parenting time both you and your spouse, or former spouse, enjoy.

Confused About the Income Shares Model? 

If you return to court to modify child support or are considering divorce, the income shares model will apply. And, if you’re confused about how it may affect your current support payment or your pending or future case, Larry can help.

Larry has over 35 years of experience as a Naperville divorce attorney and can help you better understand child support payments and how this new model will work in your unique situation. Call Larry today at 630-470-9990 to take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation or use our online form to request a consultation.

We look forward to providing our assistance in any way we can!

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