UPDATE: On July 1, 2017, Illinois enacted significant changes to how child support is calculated. This blog was posted prior to those changes and may not reflect current state law. A summary of the changes and how support is now calculated in Illinois is available in more recent blog posts. For more information, please contact our office directly.
Child support is a key element of any divorce between couples that have children, as every child has a legal right to receive financial support from both parents. It is therefore the responsibility of noncustodial parents to pay child support until the child turns 18.
Under Illinois law, child support amounts are determined based on how much a parent makes and the total number of children involved. Factors could also include the cost of family health insurance the noncustodial parent pays or the amount of child support the parent without custody is already paying for children from a prior marriage.
Money from child support is meant to help the custodial parent pay for the child’s basic needs, like food and clothes, along with transportation, medical care, activities, education, and other standard child-rearing expenses. The following is a quick set of guidelines judges in Illinois typically use to determine child support payment amounts:
Note that child support payments are determined based on net income, unlike spousal maintenance, which is tied to gross income. Net income includes salary, commissions, tips, bonuses, disability benefits, retirement income, capital gains, and interest, but does not include things like taxes, Social Security benefits, union dues, mandatory retirement contributions, and health insurance premiums.
A non-custodial parent’s child support obligation usually ends when the child turns 18, but can also end if the child joins the military, gets married, desires independence, or no longer requires parental support.
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