How Do You Determine Child Support in Illinois?
Illinois, like every other state, requires parents be financially responsible for their children. When parents choose not to live together, the non-custodial parent, or the parent with whom the children do not live, is required to pay child support to the other parent. Illinois has a set of guidelines for child support payments that depend on several factors, but judges also have the ability to order child support in a larger or smaller amount than the guidelines depending on the facts of each case.
The Factors Illinois Child Support Guidelines Consider
The law in Illinois requires child be calculated based upon the number of children the parents share, the income of the non-custodial parent, the cost of health insurance that covers the children paid for by the non-custodial parent, the amount of child support and alimony the non-custodial parent pays for prior children and marriages. Child support can be ordered even when the parents were never married. Once the parents of the children no longer live together, the custodial parent can seek a child support order.
The law in Illinois sets up a minimum amount of child support calculated on the number of children the parents share and the non-custodial parent’s net income. For example, if the parents have one child, the minimum amount of child support will be 20% of the custodial parent’s net income. If the parents have six children, the minimum is 50% of the non-custodial parent’s net income.
But, these minimums are subject to change by a judge in certain circumstances. But, the judge has to take into account a variety of factors when seeking to raise or lower the amount of child support from the guidelines.
What Judges Consider When Ordering Child Support
A judge in a child support case must look at all of the circumstances of both of the parents and the children. The judge can adjust child support based on any special financial needs of the children, the resources and need of the custodial parent, and the financial needs and resources of the non-custodial parent. Judges look at what standard of living the children would have enjoyed had the relationship between the parents not dissolved.
As a practical matter, if a child as special health or education needs, the amount of child support awarded is likely to be higher. If the non-custodial parent also pays child support for other children from previous relationships and has limited income and financial resources, the amount of child support may be lower than the guidelines suggest. The judge’s most basic responsibility in child support cases is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.
Child support in Illinois is more complicated than just entering numbers into a calculator. If you are involved in a child support case you need the advice of an attorney who understands how judges make child support decisions and can help you present your best case. Every case is unique and the amount of child support ordered will depend on how well each side presents their case to the judge.
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