For many couples, a divorce equates to a fight over children, as well as who will be responsible for child support payments, and for how much. If you are currently going through a divorce, before you go in front of a judge, it is important to know what the court looks at to determine child support in order to adequately prepare.
In Illinois, a child is owed support when the child's guardian is not married to the child's parent. Child support is to be used to support the physical, emotional, medical, and educational needs of the child.
Child support is calculated on a guideline set by the state, and is determined as follows:
- For one child, 20 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent;
- For two children, 28 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent;
- For three children, 32 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent;
- For four children, 40 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent;
- For five children, 45 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent; and
- For six or more children, 50 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent.
This can seem simple or straightforward, but first net income must be determined before the calculations can be made.
Net income is considered your gross income minus allowed deductions. The Illinois court allows the following deductions:
- Federal and state income tax;
- Social Security deductions;
- Mandatory retirement deductions;
- Union dues;
- Health insurance;
- Life insurance;
- Child support obligations or children of another relationship;
- Spousal support obligations;
- Debt obligations; and
- Foster care payments.
If you think the deductions can be confusing, also consider that the court can deviate from the guideline amount for the following reasons:
- The child's financial resources;
- The custodial parent's financial resources;
- If the parents had stayed married, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed;
- The physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs of the child; and
- The non-custodial parent's financial resources.
In addition to the set child support amount, a non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay the costs of the child's day care and medical expenses not covered by the child's insurance. The custodial parent is typically responsible for the health insurance of the child.
Both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent have the ability to request a modification of support from the court. The court will only modify support if there has been a significant change in circumstances, for example a large increase or decrease in either parent's salary. When you file for a modification, the court has the ability to modify the support retroactive to the date of the filing, not to the date of the change in circumstances. Additionally, the change in circumstances cannot be voluntary, for example, if you quit your job to pursue interests in a different field that pays less, you cannot use this excuse to get increased support.
Another reason for modification could be that one of your children has reached adulthood and no longer need support. In Illinois, once a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, there is no longer a responsibility to pay support (or the age of 19 if the child is still in high school). Again, the court can only order the reduction in child support retroactive to the date of filing. Therefore, as soon as the child reaches majority, you need to file for support. Additionally, please be advised that when the court re-calculates support, it will use current income data, not the original income amounts.
Child support can be complicated. To ensure that your child receives the accurate amount of support, please contact our experienced Naperville family law attorneys for a consultation.