Understanding Child Support in Illinois

child support in Illinois


Most of you are likely familiar with the saying, “It takes two to tango.”   This phrase can have many meanings, but it essentially means that two people are typically responsible for a particular action or result. This saying is often heard when stating that is takes 2 people to bring a child into the world. In the realm of child support, both parents of a child are legally required to financially support their child, regardless of their relationship once the child is born.  Child support in Illinois is typically straight-forward when it comes to establishing the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must provide to ensure the is child properly supported.


Child support in Illinois is calculated based on the net income of the payor (or non-custodial parent) and the number of children he or she has the with the other party.  The chart below provides the statutory guideline child support amounts pursuant to Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act ** These statutory guideline child support percentages apply both to parties who have previously been married (divorce cases) and to parties who have never been married (parentage cases):

Number of Children                                    % of Non-Custodial Parent’s Net Income

1                                                                                                                     20%

2                                                                                                                     28%

3                                                                                                                     32%

4                                                                                                                     40%

5                                                                                                                     45%

6 +                                                                                                                  50%


How is Net Income calculated?


Child support in Illinois is primarily calculated based on the net income of the payor, which is calculated by taking the payor’s gross income (before taxes) and subtracting any deductions as specified in the statute, which typically include income taxes, social security and medicare taxes, health insurance premiums and mandatory retirement contributions.   Determining child support in Illinois can become complicated when it is more difficult to ascertain the income of the payor, such as in cases where the payor owns his own business, works on commission or does not receive a steady, consistent salary from year to year.


When determining child support in Illinois, a court is required to calculate child support award on the income the payor receives from all sources.  Rental income, investment income, and capital gains can all be assumed as income in determining child support in Illinois.  Furthermore, a court may, in special circumstances,  decide to deviate above or below the guideline support child support amount, but this is not typically commonplace.


Regardless of the situation, if you in the midst of a child support dispute, it is imperative that you retain competent and experienced counsel to guide you through this important process (whether you are the one paying child support or the one seeking child support).

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