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How child support is determined in Illinois

Illinois courts are mandated to follow statutorily set guidelines in child support cases. They are permitted to deviate from the guidelines only if the deviation is demonstrably in the best interest of the child.

In determining whether a deviation is in the best interest of the child, the court must consider several factors. These include the financial needs and resources of the child as well as the custodial parent, the financial needs and resources of the non-custodial parent, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had his or her parents remained together and the physical, emotional, mental and educational needs of the child.

In most cases, the guidelines will determine the amount of child support ordered by the court. Child support is figured as a percentage of the net income of the non-custodial parent. If a non-custodial parent is paying for one child, the amount will be 20 percent of the net income; for two children, the amount will be 28 percent; for three children, 32 percent; and for four children, 40 percent. If the couple has five children, the guideline amount will be 45 percent of the non-custodial parent's net income. For six or more children, the guideline child support amount will be 50 percent.

If the court does choose to deviate from the guidelines, the court must list what the ordered amount would have been had the guidelines been followed as well as the reason for deviating from those guidelines. In the event that a parent has a significant change in his or her financial circumstances after having received a child support order, the parent may file a motion with the court requesting a child support modification. Prior to making this request, many parents consult with and retain a family law attorney.

Source:, "Sec. 505. Child support; contempt; penalties. ", November 22, 2014

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