In Illinois, a formula is used to determine the amount of child support that should be awarded. This formula primarily factors in the income of the parent who will pay the support and the number of children. Support continues in Illinois until the child turns 18, gets married, joins the military or otherwise does not require the support.
The judge assigned to the case will use a set of guidelines to determine the amount of child support to award that increases with the number of children. For example, 20 percent of net income should be used for one child, 28 percent for two children, 32 percent for three children and upwards as the number of children increases, but not to exceed 50 percent in any event. Net income includes general wages or salary, plus commission pay, bonuses, tips and overtime pay. Additionally, net income also includes retirement income, disability payments, workers' compensation benefits, trust income, lottery winnings and income from investments.
In addition to this basic figure, the court can adjust the amount of support upwards or downwards. The court calculates the number of hours a parent spends with his or her child so the less time he or she spends with the child will require a higher amount of support to be paid. Additionally, the court can order a non-custodial parent to pay for expenses such as day care, medical expenses, private school and extracurricular activities.
The Illinois child support guidelines provide a basic structure that individuals can use to determine the potential amount of child support that should be granted. However, in some cases, a deviation from child support guidelines may be required. A family law lawyer may be able to argue that more support should be awarded if the child has a high amount of medical expenses due to a disability or other reason.
Source: Findlaw, "Illinois Child Support Guidelines", September 01, 2014