In a variety of situations – such as the end of a marriage or when unmarried parents cannot agree as to the sharing of child-related expenses – the “non-custodial” parent (the parent with whom the child does not live) may be ordered by an Illinois court to pay a certain amount as child support.
Child support is governed by section 750 ILCS 5/505(a) et seq. of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and provides that:
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, a proceeding for child support following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, a proceeding for modification of a previous order for child support under Section 510 of this Act, or any proceeding authorized under Section 501 or 601 of this Act, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for his support, without regard to marital misconduct. The duty of support owed to a child includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child. For purposes of this Section, the term “child” shall include any child under age 18 and any child under age 19 who is still attending high school.
In Illinois, the court will determine the minimum amount of child support by using the following guidelines:
1 child: 20% of income as child support
2 children: 28% of income as child support
3 children: 32% of income as child support
4 children: 40% of income as child support
5 children: 45% of income as child support
6+ children: 50% of income as child support
Courts in Illinois may depart from the above guidelines when they find that, after considering the best interests of the child and the following factors:
- the financial resources and needs of the child
- the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent
- the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
- the physical and emotional condition of the child, and his educational needs
- the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.
Whether a person is seeking child support or fighting against an unfair request for child support, having the right attorney is important. Child support cases can be complex, and presenting the right evidence in the right manner can make all the difference.