Whether or not you and your partner were married, both parents have an obligation to support their children financially. The state of Illinois has established specific child support guidelines that all the courts have to follow to calculate how much child support one parent pays to the other.
It’s a simple question, but the answer is anything but. Many who divorce or suffer through a separation wonder how child support is calculated in Illinois, and how those calculations work. The state has different services designed to help individuals seeking child support that you can take advantage of.
This guide will go over everything you need to know about calculating child support and provides practical advice for estimating monthly payment amounts.
How is the Amount of Child Support Determined?
Before we get started explaining how to calculate child support, let’s define two different terms you’ll often see: custodial and noncustodial parent. The definitions are as follows:
- Custodial Parent: The parent who has primary custody
- Noncustodial Parent: The parent who the child doesn’t live with
If both parents have 50/50 custody, then the parent who makes more money is responsible for paying child support to the other individual. The parent receiving support will be the custodial parent and the one making payments is the noncustodial parent.
The first step in determining the amount of child support owed is by calculating the noncustodial parent’s gross income. To do this, they’ll need to add up their total amount of monthly income from all sources.
Sources of income can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Business income
- Compensation for services, such as commissions, fringe benefits, and fees
- Gains received from property deals
- Alimony payments
- Pensions and annuities
- Income from an interest in a trust or estate
Once the noncustodial parent’s gross income gets calculated, you can move on to calculating net income.
How to Calculate Net Income
To calculate the noncustodial parent’s net income, you’ll need to subtract the gross income from all allowable deductions. The amount that you’re left with is their net income.
Some deductions that are allowed can include, but aren’t limited to:
- State and federal income taxes
- Social security
- Union dues
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Life insurance premiums
- Individual and dependent health insurance premiums
- Prior support obligations
To figure out the deductions for social security and income tax, you can look at their paystubs. Even if a parent says they don’t receive an income, they can still get ordered to pay child support.
A judge can order a person to pay child support if they find out that a parent could earn an income or make more money. This also applies to situations where a parent deliberately takes lower-paying jobs, so they don’t have to pay more for child support.
Determine the Correct Amount of Net Income
The child support guidelines set by the state of Illinois states that the noncustodial parent has to pay a percentage of their net income for child support. The percentage that they have to pay is based on how many children there are.
The percentages based on the number of children are as follows:
- 20% for one child
- 28% for two children
- 32% for three children
- 40% for four children
- 45% for five children
- 50% for six or more children
One of the percentages above will be used in the support calculation depending upon how many children you have with the other parent.
Calculate the Amount of Child Support
The first step is to take the percentage amount and move the decimal point two points to the left. For example, 20% will become .20. After that, multiply that number by the noncustodial parent’s net income.
Continuing with that example, 1000 X .20 will equal $200 a month in child support. This calculation works for both temporary or long-term child support calculations. Once the amount gets calculated, it’ll be made official by a judge’s order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions we get asked regard child support in Illinois.
What is Child Support Used For?
Child support is for various expenses for your children. This can include:
It’s important to note that the noncustodial parent needs to also contribute to their child’s daycare and medical care on top of paying child support. The custodial parent is also often required to contribute funds for other expenses as well.
While child support needs to support a child, there’s no way to guarantee how the custodial parent will spend that money. They won’t be ordered by the court to show how they spend the child support funds.
Can I Modify an Existing Child Support Amount?
Child support can get modified. There are a few reasons as to why it can be changed, including:
- A change in the noncustodial parent’s income
- A change in the timeshare
- A change in the needs of the child
If you believe you have a change in circumstance that would affect the amount of child support being paid, you should seek to have it recalculated.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible?
Child support is not tax-deductible. This is because it’s included in the noncustodial parent’s taxable income. Additionally, it’s not taxable as income for the custodial parent.
Are There Penalties for Not Paying Child Support?
There are severe penalties if you fail to pay child support. You can also be penalized for paying less than what you were ordered to pay.
In extreme circumstances, you can go to jail. Some other penalties include:
- Tax refund interceptions
- Financial penalties
- Business license restrictions
- Passport and drivers licenses seizure
If you have problems making child support payments, you should address the situation as quickly as possible.
Contact STG Divorce Law for Help With Child Support in Illinois
When you’re going through a painful divorce, the last thing you need to do is try to figure out the guidelines around child support in Illinois. You need an experienced person on your side that can handle everything for you. Trust in STG Divorce Law to help you with all aspects of your divorce and custody arrangements.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.