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Child Support in Illinois: The Current Guidelines

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Child Support

child support, DuPage County child support lawyersVery few parents would argue that they do not have a responsibility to provide financially for their children—at least to a certain extent. Raising a child costs real money, and generating that money should be the concern of both parents, regardless of their relationship with one another. Under the law in Illinois, a family court may order child support payments from either or both parent to ensure that the child’s needs are properly met. How such payments are calculated, however, has become a subject of controversy in recent years, which we will address in this post and at least one other upcoming post.

Income Guidelines

The first thing that you need to know about child support calculations in Illinois is that a family court is guided by a formula and considerations listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA provides a fairly straightforward method for calculating child support payments that relies primarily on just two factors: the number of children being supported and the paying parent’s net income. A parent supporting one child can expect to pay 20 percent of his or her net income as support, 28 percent for two children, 32 percent for three children, and so on, up to 50 percent for six or more children.

Other Factors

The IMDMA also provides that percentage of income formula is intended to be a baseline, and the actual order for child support could be significantly more in many cases. The law specifies that the order may be increased to account for financial considerations for health-related expenses, educational costs, childcare needs, and extracurricular activities.

It is also possible for a court to order payments lower than the prescribed percentage if circumstantial factors would make it impossible for the paying parent to remain compliant. Before doing so, however, the court must determine that the child’s best interests would not be compromised by lowering the payment.

An Outdated Model?

For the last several years, many around the state, including within various government agencies have expressed concerns that this model of calculating child support had become outdated. It seemed to be based on an assumption that the supporting parent was the primary wage-earner, thereby failing to account for any income that the recipient parent may be generating. The existing method also makes no attempt to determine how much it actually costs to raise a child and does not statutorily account for shared parenting and related expenses. For example, a father with three children may be required to pay 32 percent of his income in child support even though he and the mother share parenting time equally. In this example, the father would be responsible for the costs of parenting half the time in addition to the support he was required to pay—nearly a third of his net income.

Earlier this year, lawmakers addressed these concerns and passed a new law regarding the calculation of child support orders which will take effect next July. In an upcoming post, we will look more closely at some of the changes that lie ahead.

Child Support Attorneys

If you are in the midst of a dispute regarding child support payments, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Schedule your confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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