Effective July 1, 2017, Illinois courts implemented a new statutory scheme for the calculation of child support. In doing so, there are now several new adjustments to gross income that can be used to lower your obligation. Payors should be on the lookout for these three adjustments to income in order to effectively minimize their obligations: other child support obligations, court-ordered maintenance obligations, and ordinary and necessary business expenses.
The first adjustment to be mindful of is any other child support obligation paid to any other parent. The language of the statute does indicate that the support must be actually paid and pursuant to a support order, and compliance with these two requirements is critical. You should always ensure that any child support obligations are being paid pursuant to an order and that those payments are withheld by using an order for withholding.
Both support orders and orders for withholding are easy to secure, and your attorney should be securing these items for your benefit. Please note this adjustment is limited, and you should discuss the limitation with your attorney.
The next adjustment to gross income for the purposes of calculating child support is maintenance paid to the payee. The statute again specifies that the maintenance must be pursuant to a court order in the pending proceeding and actually paid. As always, it is crucial that you remain in compliance with existing court orders to take advantage of this adjustment.
The final adjustment to consider is applicable to anyone who owns and operates a business. The new statute allows for business owners of any size to deduct ordinary and necessary expenses required to carry on business. The expenses that can be considered ordinary and necessary are limited only by how creative you and your attorney can be. Maybe you operate a home-based business and operate a home office. Would a portion of your mortgage be deductible under that scenario? If you find yourself in this position, you owe it to yourself to try and find out.
With the enactment of the recent changes to the Illinois child support laws, you can, and should, take advantage of the allowable adjustments to gross income for the purposes of calculating child support. There are many more new provisions that have been implemented that could have an effect on your child support obligation, and our firm is available to assist you with any questions you may have. We promise to communicate clearly and give you the tools to make the right decision for you.
Timothy E. Weiler has been selected to instruct lawyers about the new child support law on June 9. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the John Marshall Law School. He can be reached by calling 630-5897-5600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.