Illinois state law provides for the needs of children by imposing a financial obligation on both parents. This applies, regardless of whether or not the parents were ever married. If you are a parent seeking child support, or are preparing for a divorce, the following information can help you understand the basics of how child support is applied in Illinois.
Illinois Minimum Child Support Guidelines
While parents can agree on a child support amount, that agreement must meet the state’s minimum requirements. This is calculated based on the number of children shared by the parents and the supporting parent’s net income. These guidelines are as follows:
- 20 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there is one child,
- 28 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there are two children,
- 32 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there are three children,
- 40 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there are four children,
- 45 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there are five children, and
- 50 percent of the supporting parent’s income if there are six or more children.
Fairly straightforward, the support formula is sufficient in most situations. However, there are circumstances under which the judge may adjust the support amount. If, for example, the child has special physical or educational needs, the minimum child support amount may not be enough to ensure the child’s basic needs are met. Additionally, a judge may choose to deviate from the minimum support amount if the child might have enjoyed a higher standard of living, or if there is a severe disparity between the supporting parent’s income and the receiving parent’s financial need. Daycare expenses, private school tuition, cost of extracurricular activities, and healthcare costs may also be factored into the adjusted amount.
Net Income and Imputed Income
When a supporting parent has income, all of their earnings and income are considered net income. Certain deductions, such as state and federal taxes, medical expenses necessary to ensure life and/or health, and health insurance premiums are allowed. The supporting parent may also be able to deduct any child support they have paid in the past, and reasonable amounts that have already been paid to benefit the child or receiving parent (this does not include gifts).
Supporting parents who do not have income are not excused from paying child support. Instead, they may be forced to provide proof that they are looking for employment. Failure to provide this information, or suspicion that the parent is not actively pursuing employment, could lead to having an “imputed” income used to determine their child support obligation. This is essentially the amount they could potentially earn, rather than their actual earnings.
Failure to Pay Child Support
If a supporting parent ignores their obligation to pay child support, they become at risk for serious consequences. First, the amount they owe accrues. Secondly, there may be interest tacked on to the delinquent amount. Accrue enough back child support, and a supporting parent could be at risk for criminal charges and jail time. This does not mean that a supporting parent does not have options, should they lose their job or face a financial hardship. It simply means that, rather than ignore the order, a supporting parent should seek help if they are temporarily unable to meet their child support obligation.
Contact Our Naperville Family Law Attorneys
If you need assistance seeking child support, or need to have a modification made to your existing order, Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. can help. Backed by more than a decade of experience, we will skillfully work to reach a favorable outcome in your child support case. Contact us at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation with our Naperville family law attorneys today.