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Remarriage and Child Support in Illinois: A Guide

Parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to their children. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois uses the income shares child support guidelines model to help determine how much is owed. If you or your partner is involved in a new relationship, you may be wondering: Does remarriage impact child support in Illinois? Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook child support attorneys answer the question by explaining the most important things parents should know about remarriage and child support.

How Does the Income Shares Child Support Model Work?

As mentioned above, Illinois uses the income shares model to calculate child support obligations. Under this type of system, each parent is responsible for contributing in proportion to their financial means. As an example, imagine parents who have combined annual earnings of $150,000. If one parent makes $100,000, that means they earn two-thirds (2/3) of the collective income. Thus, they would be responsible for two thirds (2/3) of the total child support.

Remarriage: A New Spouse’s Income is Not Considered in the Income Shares Model

How does remarriage affect the income shares calculation? At the most basic level, it does not — at least not directly. A parent’s new spouse does not have a legal duty to contribute to the care of the new partner’s child from a previous relationship. In other words, a new spouse’s income is not factored into the income shares calculation.

In effect, this means a remarriage will not automatically change child support obligations. The income shares model serves as a general guideline. Illinois courts can deviate from the standard when appropriate. A parent’s general financial ability to contribute to supporting their child can be considered in a more holistic manner than simply looking at their income.

Exceptions Apply: A Remarriage May Warrant a Modification in Child Support

While a new spouse’s income will not be directly considered in a child support calculation in Illinois, that does not mean a remarriage is entirely irrelevant. Quite the contrary, either parent’s remarriage may be a good cause to seek a child support modification. The new marriage may alter the “available income” a parent must contribute to their child’s well-being. On those grounds, an Illinois court may determine child support should be adjusted to account for a substantial change in circumstances. To be clear, a remarriage can work in both directions: It may warrant either an increase or decrease in child support payments depending on specific facts of the case. 

Call Our Illinois Family Lawyers for Immediate Help

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois child support attorneys provide effective, client-centered legal representation to parents. If you have questions or concerns about remarriage and child support, we are here to help. To set up a free, no-commitment initial consultation, please contact us now. With office locations in Naperville and Bolingbrook, we represent clients in Cook County, Lake County, and DuPage County.