IllinoisChild Support Laws
Illinois Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Illinois has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Illinois, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Illinois is one of the minority of states that uses the "percentage of income" method for calculating child support payments.
In the event of parents sharing custody of a child, the Illinois judge who sets child support may deviate from the basic child support formula to account for this. Other special situations accounted for under Illinois' child support law include childcare costs, extraordinary medical costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Illinois child support order.
How Is Child Support Calculated In Illinois?In Illinois, child support is calculated as a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income. Here is the chart of amounts:
- 20% for one child
- 28% for two children
- 32% for three children
- 40% for four children
- 45% for five children, and
- 50% for six or more children.
Which Actions are Taken if there is Failure to Comply?If a parent who is found guilty of contempt for failure to comply with an order to pay support is a person who conducts a business or who is self-employed, the court in addition to other penalties provided by law may order that the parent do one or more of the following:
- provide to the court monthly financial statements showing income and expenses from the business or the self-employment
- seek employment and report periodically to the court with a diary, listing, or other memorandum of his or her employment search efforts
- report to the Department of Employment Security for job search services to find employment that will be subject to withholding for child support.
How is Basic Child Support Calculated?The court shall compute the basic child support obligation by taking the following steps:
- determine each parent's monthly net income
- add the parents' monthly net incomes together to determine the combined monthly net income of the parents
- select the corresponding appropriate amount from the schedule of basic child support obligations based on the parties' combined monthly net income and number of children of the parties
- calculate each parent's percentage share of the basic child support obligation.
What Happens After a Support Order is Entered or Modified?All orders for support, when entered or modified, shall include a provision requiring the obligor to notify the court and, in cases in which a party is receiving child and spouse services under Article X of the Illinois Public Aid Code, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, within 7 days:
- of the name and address of any new employer of the obligor
- whether the obligor has access to health insurance coverage through the employer or other group coverage and, if so, the policy name and number and the names of persons covered under the policy, except only the initials of any covered minors shall be included
- of any new residential or mailing address or telephone number of the obligor.
- to establish as State policy an adequate standard of support for a child, subject to the ability of parents to pay
- to make child support obligations more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of parents in similar circumstances
- to improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing levels of child support
- to calculate child support based upon the parents' combined net income estimated to have been allocated for the support of the child if the parents and child were living in an intact household
- to adjust child support based upon the needs of the child
- to allocate the amount of child support to be paid by each parent based upon a parent's net income and the child's physical care arrangements.
The child support guidelines have the following purposes:
How Does Health Insurance Factor into Child Support?The court, in its discretion, in addition to the basic child support obligation, shall also provide for the child's current and future medical needs by ordering either or both parents to initiate health insurance coverage for the child through currently effective health insurance policies held by the parent or parents, purchase one or more or all health, dental, or vision insurance policies for the child, or provide for the child's current and future medical needs through some other manner.
Obligations pursuant to a court order for spousal maintenance in the pending proceeding actually paid or payable to the same party to whom child support is to be payable or actually paid to a former spouse pursuant to a court order shall be deducted from the parent's gross income.
The court shall deduct from the parent's net income the amount of child support actually paid by the parent pursuant to a support order unless the court makes a finding that it would cause economic hardship to the child.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Illinois family court through a child support order. In Illinois, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Illinois Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Illinois?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Illinois?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Illinois?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Illinois?
- How is child support enforced in Illinois?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Illinois?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Illinois?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Illinois law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody agreement as justification for a variation from the state's general child support calculations. This means that if the non-custodial parent shares parenting time with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support owed to account for the resources spent by the non-custodial parent during their time with the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Illinois?
Illinois has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Illinois treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "permissive deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the judge may order the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner to be deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, judge may order the non-custodial parent to pay a portion of the childcare costs in addition to basic child support.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Illinois?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Illinois has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Illinois treats child care costs as a "permissive deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the judge may order the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner to be deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, judge may order the non-custodial parent to pay a portion of the childcare costs in addition to basic child support.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Illinois?
Illinois state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Illinois welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Illinois?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Illinois tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.