Understanding Your Child Support Responsibilities

If you are in in the process of getting divorced or separating from your child’s other parent, you probably realize that an order for child support is probably forthcoming. It is especially likely if the other parent has been granted primary residential custody. While, under Illinois law, both parents can potentially ordered to pay support, the vast majority of cases see the non-custodial parent paying support to the custodial parent to provide for the needs of the child.

Child Support Basics

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that child support is meant to “provide for the reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.” In practice, these needs are reflected in shelter, food, clothing, school supplies, medical care, and any other expense related to daily living. As a parent, you are undoubtedly willing to help meet your child’s needs, but it is important to understand what the law says about your potential obligations.

Your obligation for child support is based primarily upon two factors: your net income and the number of children to be supported. The law defines your net income as your total income from all sources minus specified allowable deductions, such as taxes, union dues, previous support obligations, and several others. The amount you will be expected to pay will be a percentage of your net income:

  • 20 percent to support 1 child;
  • 28 percent to support 2 children;
  • 32 percent to support 3 children;
  • 40 percent to support 4 children;
  • 45 percent to support 5 children; and
  • 50 percent to support 6 or more children.

The court may alter the actual amount based upon specific findings of fact related to:

  • The financial needs and resources of the child;
  • Your financial needs and resources and those of the other parent;
  • The standard of living established in your marriage; and
  • The physical, emotional, mental, and educational needs of the child.

Additional Support

Beyond the amount calculated by the formula set forth in the law, you may also be required to contribute to certain other allowable expense. These include health-related costs not covered by insurance, daycare or childcare services, education, and extracurricular activities. In this regard, every case is completely unique and the resulting order will be based on your particular circumstances.

For more information about child support in Illinois, contact an experienced Will County family law attorney. We will work hard to provide the answers to all of your questions and will help you understand the law. Call 708-518-8200 to schedule your free consultation today.