pDadDaughterAtBeach_11076463_sIn Illinois, the state requires divorced parents to provide financial support to their children. In many cases, the custodial parent already uses a large portion of his or her income to provide the necessities of life to the child. The non-custodial parent may be required by court order to pay child support in order to help meet the basic needs of the child.

Basic child support payments are meant to cover food, clothing and shelter for the children of a divorced couple. While these payments do not always cover the extra costs related to medical needs, education, daycare or other extracurricular activities, a judge may order additional amounts to be paid to cover other important expenses.

Illinois’ child support guidelines

The courts follow minimum guidelines that have been set forth by legislation and are dependent upon the amount of children a non-custodial parent has and his or her net income. For example, a paying parent with one child is required to pay 20 percent of his or her net income in support payments. A paying parent with six or more children must pay 50 percent of his or her net income.

The guidelines provide a basis on which judges can make calculations regarding support, however, deviations from the guidelines can be allowed based on the following:

  • A child’s specific financial needs
  • The custodial parent’s financial needs and resources
  • The standard of living the child enjoyed prior to divorce
  • The mental, emotional, physical and educational needs of the child
  • The non-custodial parent’s financial needs and resources

If the courts find that the state’s guidelines are not appropriate in a particular case, the reasoning must be stated in order to alter the amount of child support payments to be ordered.

Determining net income

The amount that a non-custodial parent is required to pay for support of his or her children is based upon net income. In general, the net income of the paying spouse is his or her gross income minus federal and state income tax, social security, mandatory retirement contributions, health and life insurance premiums, and any other expenses deemed necessary by the courts. When net income cannot be determined, a standard amount is used based on the state’s minimum wage to determine monthly payment obligations.

Child support cases can be complex, leading many people to seek legal assistance. Obtaining the correct payment amounts is important to the well-being of children, and an attorney can help parents through the legal process.