When you share a child or children with another person, breaking up can be challenging. A major concern for many parents is whether they will receive – or be required to pay – child support. The answer to that question depends on several factors, including which parent has primary custody, the child’s needs, and the income of each parent.
In Illinois, child support is determined using guidelines that take each parent’s net income. The parent who has the majority of parenting time usually receives child support. These guidelines replace the old standards, which applied a percentage based on the number of minor children to the paying parent’s income.
Figuring out child custody and support can be difficult, particularly in a highly-charged emotional situation. At Manassa Law, we advocate for parents and families in divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law matters. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Barrington, IL child support lawyer.
What Are the Child Support Guidelines?
Child support is the money that one parent pays to the other after a divorce or breakup to support their minor child or children. The goal of child support is to offset the expenses associated with raising children for the parent with the majority of parenting time and to maintain a consistent standard of living between two homes. It can be used for any costs necessary to maintain a safe home for the kid(s), such as food, rent or mortgage, clothing, toys, school supplies, and medical expenses.
The child support guidelines are a legal requirement that helps courts to determine the amount of child support that one parent should pay to the other. In Illinois, the “income shares” model is used. This new model replaces old child support guidelines, where a percentage based on the number of kids was applied to the paying parent’s net income (i.e., 20% for one child, 28% for two children, etc).
The income shares model is used broadly in the United States. It is based on the assumption that child-rearing expenses will be shared between parents. It considers both parents’ net income and then uses a chart based on economic data to determine the amount that parents spend on their children based on family income and size.
In other words, instead of focusing exclusively on the paying parent’s income, the income shares model examines both parents’ income and the expected costs of raising their children. This model is more flexible than the flat percentage guidelines. It can take various factors into consideration, such as shared parenting or a big disparity in income between the parents.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?
There are six steps to determine child support under the Illinois guidelines:
- Each parent’s net income is calculated using a gross-to-net income conversion chart.
- The parents’ net income is put together to find the combined net income.
- Each parent’s percentage of combined net income is determined (for example, if one parent earns $50,000 annually and the other parent earns $100,000 annually, then their combined net income is $150,000. The first parent’s net income is 30% of the total, while the second parent’s net income is 70% of the total).
- The basic child support obligation is determined by putting the combined net income into an income shares chart.
- This number is then multiplied by the percentages from step 3 for each parent.
- The resulting numbers represent each parent’s child support obligation. The parent who has less parenting time is the paying parent. The parent with the majority of parenting time is presumed to apply their child support number to their child.
These guidelines are used to calculate child support obligations in most Illinois cases. However, because the best interests of the child(ren) are the overarching principle for all child support and custody matters, a court may deviate from these standards in some situations. A Barrington child support attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations under Illinois’ child support laws.
How We Can Help
Child support is an important aspect of any child custody matter. Whether you are the receiving or the paying parent, it is critical to know how the child support guidelines work. Our law firm can help with all aspects of child support, from obtaining an initial child support order to collection to modification.
Based in Barrington, Manassa Law represents families and individuals in family law matters in Cook, McHenry, and Lake Counties. We offer free initial consultations for all prospective clients. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Barrington child support lawyer, give us a call at 847-221-5511 or fill out our online contact form.
Do Courts Ever Deviate from the Illinois Child Support Guidelines?
Yes. While the child support guidelines are standard, courts may deviate from them if it is in the best interests of the child(ren). A court will look at factors such as the financial, physical, emotional and educational needs of the child and the financial responsibilities of both parents. For example, if a child is disabled and has significant needs as a result, then a court may order a higher level of child support.
Questions of what is in the best interests of a child can be more complicated than typical child support cases that rely on the guidelines. If you need help understanding your rights in an Illinois child support matter, give Manassa Law a call to schedule a free consultation with a Barrington child support attorney.
Can A Child Support Order Be Modified in Illinois?
Yes. It is possible to have child support modified, but only if there is a substantial change in circumstances that warrants it. This change in circumstances has to be something relatively significant, such as the paying parent losing their job or getting a higher paying job or promotion or the child having new medical or educational needs. Other examples of a substantial change in circumstances include changes to parenting time arrangements or one parent’s new obligation to support children from other relationships.
It is important to seek a modification as soon as possible after the changed circumstance occurs. This ensures that you can get the modification as soon as possible – and that the order will be retroactive to the day of filing. Reach out to Manassa Law to talk to a Barrington child support modification lawyer about your case.
What Happens If a Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support?
Failure to pay child support is a serious offense in Illinois. If a parent does not pay child support pursuant to a court order, then the state may impose property liens, wage garnishment, or even criminal penalties. They may also intercept your tax returns to cover your child support arrears.
However, the state can only enforce official child support orders issued by a court. That is why it is important that you get a child support order or seek a modification of the order if your circumstances have changed. Contact Manassa Law today to schedule a free consultation with a Barrington child support attorney.