by Nancy Chausow Shafer
Every four years the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee reviews the state’s child support guideline calculations. This is done to ensure child support calculations are fair and address the needs of children and families. The committee has made several significant changes to the Illinois child support calculation to support families. Family Law Software is fully up to date with these modifications. Let’s address the changes below:
New Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligation using the BR5 Index
The new Schedule generally yields higher child support results based on the change in index from Betson-Rothbarth4 (BR4) to the Betson-Rothbarth5 (BR5). Using the BR5 measurement model incorporates into the new child support calculations the general cost of living increases we have seen since 2017.
The new Schedule tops out at $25,000 of the parents’ combined monthly net income. The prior schedule had a top level of $30,000 combined monthly net income. This means more high-income families will fall outside the guideline schedule.
New Gross-to-Net Income Conversion Table
There is also a new Gross-to-Net Income conversion table for 2023. The table is updated annually to mirror the changes to IRS tax brackets. Family Law Software automatically uses the most recent Gross-to-Net table when you are running current calculations.
Impact on pending cases
These changes are effective immediately. All pending child support cases, which have not been reduced to a final order, must now consider the new Schedule. This will change the final child support calculation. All practitioners or litigants must re-run their child support calculations with the updated guideline.
Family Law Software has the new 2023 Schedule ready for users. Existing cases in FLS will use the new Schedule unless the user opts to use the previous one.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will only have the current new Schedule and G-to-N table for their online Child Support Estimator.
In Family Law Software, users can easily toggle back and forth from the old to the new guidelines to see the impact of the changes. Many users requested this capability to compute support for the years since the original Schedule was implemented in July 2017. Although not officially sanctioned, FLS provides this capability as an option.
FLS cloud users will instantly see these updates once they login. All desktop users will need to update their software to use the new schedules.
Want to learn more about the history and process of changing the child support calculations in the state of Illinois? Please read Nancy Chausow Shafer’s full article featured in the Illinois State Bar Association’s Family Law section newsletter published in March 2023, Volume No. 9.
Illinois State Bar Association March 2023 newsletter, “The Illinois Child Support Guidelines Quadrennial Review Report and the Updated Child Support Guidelines” written by Margaret A. Bennett & Nancy Chausow Shafer.