Child support is a legal obligation the non-residential parent has to the residential parent. In Illinois, the amount the non-residential parent pays in child support is determined by statute. The Illinois statute uses a “shared income” approach, meaning child support calculations are based upon the parents’ combined net income estimated to have been available to both the parents and child if everyone were living in the same household. The amount of overnights a parent has with the child is also used as a factor when calculating child support amounts.
Calculating parties’ combined adjusted net income can be complex and it is important to find an attorney experienced with child support issues.
In certain circumstances, the Court will deviate from the statutory guidelines and require a parent to pay more or less for child support. If the non-residential parent makes a substantial amount of money where it would not be necessary to pay pursuant to the statutory guidelines, the Court may order a child support payment lower than that required by the guidelines. In situations that involve a child with special needs, the Court may require a parent to pay an amount that is more than that required by the guidelines.
It is important to note that child support is always modifiable if there is a substantial change in circumstances. This means that if the either parent’s income changes (increases or decreases), the Court will modify the child support payment to match the current net income.
Many people assume that expenses such as extracurricular activities, medical expenses, and educational expenses are included in child support. This is not true. The non-residential parent is often times required to contribute to these expenses in addition to making their child support payments.