How Does Child Support Work With Two Different Mothers?

How Does Child Support Work With Two Different Mothers?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

The Illinois child support model changed relatively recently to an “income shares” model that considers the incomes of both parents when determining the total child support obligation instead of ordering one parent to pay child support to the other parent.

Part of the reason for this shift is the concurrent change in Illinois child custody and parental responsibility laws. Rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents and identifying one of the parents as a custodial parent, the court now allocates parental responsibilities according to the terms of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

Given that courts frequently allocate parental responsibilities to both parents unless there is a clear reason to restrict one parent’s ability to make significant decisions about the child’s upbringing or to provide caretaking functions, it makes sense that both parents would also share a child support obligation. Yet how does child support with two different mothers? Our child support lawyers in Chicago can help you to understand the answer to this question in a couple of different scenarios.

Courts Will Use the Income Shares Model for Determining Child Support with Two Mothers in a Same-Sex Relationship

For same-sex couples who are separating after years in a committed relationship or are getting divorced, many different questions about issues like parenting plans and child support can arise. In particular, given the common heteronormative assumptions and misconceptions about a father being the primary earner in a family and paying child support, how does child support work with two different mothers?

Under current Illinois law, any child custody case arising out of a breakup or a divorce will also require the court to determine the appropriate child support obligation. Regardless of whether the parents are a heterosexual couple made up of a mother and father or a same-sex couple made up of two mothers or two fathers, the court will use the income shares model to determine a child support obligation.

To be clear, the income shares model is not based on the sex or gender of the two parents in any capacity. Accordingly, the income shares model will be used when there are two same-sex mothers who share a minor child from their relationship.

When a Parent Has Children with Two Separate Mothers from Different Relationships 

The question about how child support works with two different mothers can also refer to a situation in which a parent has children with two separate mothers from different relationships.

In situations where a parent has children with two separate mothers, the court will still use the income shares model to determine the total child support obligation. However, to determine the child support obligation based on the income shares model, the court combines the parents’ net incomes and not their gross incomes. Accordingly, to determine the net income for the parent who has children with two separate mothers, the court will deduct the amount of child support that the parent already pays for the child he or she shares with the first mother. Then, the total child support obligation for the child or children shared with the second mother will be based on the parents’ net income minus that preexisting child support obligation.

Contact Our Child Support Lawyers in Chicago

Do you have questions or concerns about child support? An experienced child support attorney in Chicago is here to help with your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to learn more about the services we provide to parents in the Chicago area.