Child Support

How Child Support is Determined in Illinois

In Illinois, child support is determined by a formula that considers your net income and the number of children you support. Although it sounds routine, it is anything but that. Because of difficult calculations regarding what a person's income actually is comprised of and what taxes and deductions are allowed, hiring the right attorney for the job is crucial. Contact G. Edward Murphy or one of the other attorneys at Murphy & Dunn, P.C. to discuss your situation.

Under the statute, the following guidelines apply:

Number of ChildrenPercentage of Net Income Paid as Child Support
120 percent
228 percent
332 percent
440 percent
545 percent
6 or more50 percent

As a rule, this formula assumes that one parent receiving child support has primary residential parenting time of the child or children. If child custody is shared 50-50, then the higher-earning spouse would still have to pay child support, but would pay less than the amount shown in the formula. There could be offsetting child support where each party would pay under the formula above and the amounts would be offset with the higher wage earner paying the difference.

The court also has the discretion to deviate downward from the guidelines if your earnings are very high, or there are other reasons to do so. Finally, child support is now a secondary calculation to maintenance. If maintenance is proper, it is calculated first and then child support is calculated after deducting the amount of maintenance as an additional deduction in arriving at net income. These can be complicated calculations and the attorney you choose makes all the difference is getting to the proper amount.

Although the formula above is set in a percentage amount, actual child support is calculated as a specific dollar amount, not as percentage of your pay. There are few exceptions to this rule. Additionally, if your net income changes substantially, child support payments can be modified.

Child Support and Higher Education

In Illinois, child support stops when the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later not exceeding a child's 19th birthday. However, both parents can be required to contribute to college expenses under a separate Illinois statute. The amount of college and post high school support is determined not just by the income of the parents, but by both the income and assets of both parents and the child, as well as considering all scholarships and loans, the cost of the school, and numerous other factors. It is a complicated process that requires a highly skilled divorce attorney to navigate you though to obtain the best possible result.

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