Divorce is never easy, but it becomes much more complicated when the parties have children in common. Both child support and child custody can be highly contentious issues. These issues are also unique in the law in that the court's decision is not really final. Courts retain jurisdiction over these issues so as circumstances change or a child's needs change, so can these arrangements.
Child Support Can Change
In Illinois, child support is governed by a state statute. This law gives a trial court the power to order a parent to pay an amount that is reasonable and necessary for the support of the child. Courts are required to determine both parents' income and apportion the income so as to determine the support amount. This is not just wages, but instead covers almost all sources of income. Once this amount is initially set, Illinois law allows a parent to seek to have the child support obligation modified if he or she can show a substantial change in circumstances. A change in income is one ground for modification. The focus of the inquiry will be the parent's economic situation at the time the support calculations are made by the court.
Factors the Court Will Consider in a Modification
When a court considers a request to modify a child support obligation, it considers all of the same factors that it considered when it originally set the obligation. These factors include:
- the child or children's financial resources and needs;
- the custodial parent's financial resources and needs;
- what the child's standard of living would have been had his or her parents not gotten divorced;
- the child's physical, mental, and emotional needs;
- the child's educational needs; and
- the non-custodial parent's financial resources and needs.
There are general guidelines that courts are supposed to follow unless one or more of these factors justifies a deviation in light of the best interests of the child. The guidelines set a minimum amount of child support that should be ordered. Rather than being a set monetary figure they consist of a percentage of the supporting party's net income. So if there is one child, the supporting parent is expected to pay 20 percent of his or her net income in child support. If there are two children it is 28 percent. Three children requires 32 percent, four children 40 percent, five children 45 percent, and six or more children require 50 percent.
Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C.
Whether you are the primary custodial parent or the parent who is paying child support, you may find yourself in a situation where you believe a modification of child support is warranted. If this happens you will need the assistance of an experienced Illinois child support attorney. You should call the family law lawyers at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. Our phone number is (630)665-7676.