Child support is a periodic support payment that is often ordered when two parents are no longer living together. Public policy dictates that both parents owe a duty of support to their children; however, in general the non-residential parent pays support. Recent case law permits a court to order the custodial parent to pay for child related expenses of the non-residential parent, but that is not typical. In Illinois at this time, the court generally utilizes guidelines to set support from the non-residential parent to the residential parent.
According to the Illinois Statutory Guidelines (750 ILCS 5/505 Sec. 505), the minimum of what may be paid is based off of the non-residential parent’s net income, as well as how many children he or she is responsible to support . The guidelines provide as follows:
Number of Children Percent of Supporting Party’s Net Income
6 or more 50%
The Court will generally apply the guidelines; however, if the Court finds that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate, the Court can also set support based upon the best interest of the children. Relevant factors that are considered include, but are not limited to, the financial needs and resources of the children and residential parent, the standard of living the children would have enjoyed if the couple resided together, educational, physical and emotional condition and needs of the children, and the financial resources and needs of the parent paying the child support. If the Court deems it appropriate, the Court can deviate either by an increase or decrease from the guideline support.
Each individual case is unique and may have other factors that have to be taken into consideration. For example, if the net income of the non-residential parent cannot be determined, it will be up to the court to determine an amount to be paid for support based upon needs. At the end of the day, the child support guidelines are there to assist in the decision-making process when it comes to child support orders, but it is ultimately up to the court to decide what is fair and in the best interest of the children.
While guidelines exist, it is important to consult with an attorney as the issue of child support, while appearing to be simplistic, can become complicated given the facts involved in your case. We are always available to assist you with this matter. Please contact our office for a free consultation or for further information regarding support.