Calculating Your Child Support Obligations

Over the last year or so, posts on this blog, along with countless others around the internet, have extensively covered the upcoming—now currently enacted—changes to the family law statutes in Illinois. These changes brought reform on an unprecedented scale to the state’s approach to divorce and child custody. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the existing laws that govern child support were largely left untouched. While efforts are currently underway to amend Illinois child support guidelines, it is important to know the law as it stands today.

Who Pays and How Much?

Despite the new law’s elimination of the titles of custodial and non-custodial parent, the parent with fewer parental responsibilities and less parenting time will usually be the one required to pay child support. The amount that he or she is expected to pay is determined as a function of his or her income and the number of children for whom support is needed.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that a supporting parent should expect to pay:

  • 20% of the parent’s net income for one child;
  • 28% for two children;
  • 32% for three children;
  • 40% for four children;
  • 45% for five children; and
  • 50% for six or more children.

Net income refers to a parent’s total income minus statutorily permitted deduction for taxes, union dues, insurance premiums, previous child support or maintenance obligations, and certain other expenses. Child support obligations may be increased or decreased by the court based on the family’s circumstances and the needs of the child. The court may also increase the paying parent’s responsibilities to share costs related to the:

  • Health care needs the child not covered by insurance;
  • Daycare or other child care;
  • Education; and
  • Extracurricular activities.

Possible Changes Ahead

The current law only takes into account the income of one parent, which, in today’s world, tells only about half of the story. It also fails to expressly consider the paying parent’s parenting time with the child. For this reason, many around Illinois, including state-appointed advisory committees, have been pushing for a more equitable child support model. To that end, legislation is currently being considered that would new, comprehensive guidelines for calculating child support. The proposed bill would account for the income of both parents, shared parenting time, and many other factors involved with the costs of raising a child.

If you have questions about paying or receiving child support in Illinois, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. Call 708-518-8200 to schedule your free initial consultation today. We will provide the answers you need and can help you better understand your rights and responsibilities under the law.