Calculating Illinois Child Support
Illinois requires parents to financially support their children. Therefore, when a child's parents are divorced, separated or single, state law governs child support payments and how the support payments will be made. A child’s parents may come to an agreement regarding how to pay child support; however, the agreement must meet minimum standards as required by state law.
Basic Illinois child support is calculated as a percentage of the payor parent’s net income after certain deductions are made. The percentage increases with the number of children:
- 20 percent for one child;
- 28 percent for two children;
- 32 percent for three children;
- 40 percent for four children;
- 45 percent for five children; and
- 50 percent for six or more children.
A Judge may adjust the basic guidelines if the guideline amount does not meet a child’s best interests. Courts will consider various factors which include the following:
- The financial resources and needs of a child and both parents;
- A child’s standard of living if his or her parents had stayed together;
- The physical, mental and emotional needs of a child; and
- A child’s educational needs.
Illinois’s child support guidelines are based on traditional custody in which a non-custodial parent has his or her child for every other weekend and additional time in the summer. However, Illinois will no longer use the custody framework in January 2016. Instead, parenting time and parental responsibilities will be allocated. Thus, Courts may deviate from the basic guideline amounts if parents share parenting time or if one parent’s visitation is more than the traditional amount.
Courts may also require extra payments to cover expenses such as education, daycare, medical expenses and extracurricular activities. Further, high-income parents may be able to pay more than the guideline amount of support, while low-income parents may not be able to pay the full guideline amount.
To calculate the guideline amount, a non-custodial parent’s gross income is totaled and then the deductions are subtracted to calculate net income. Deductions include:
- State and federal income tax withholdings;
- FICA (Social Security) tax;
- Mandatory retirement contributions;
- Union dues;
- Health insurance premiums; and
- Past child or spousal support orders actually paid.
Finally, depending on the number of children, the net income is multiplied by the applicable percentage and this is the guideline amount.
Child support generally continues until a child turns 18. If a child is still in high school at the time of his or her 18th birthday, support payments will continue to be made until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. Support payments may go on for a longer time if a child is disabled and cannot support him or herself. Also, parents may be ordered to help with college expenses.
Receiving an adequate amount of child support can be crucial to a parent’s and child’s financial stability after a divorce or separation. If you have any questions about how child support will work in your case, please contact skilled Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson for a free initial consultation.