Following The Child Support Guidelines

In the typical Chicago child support case, the parties will agree to use, or the Judge will order, the statutory child support guidelines as set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Those guidelines are:

Number of Children

  • 1 child: 20% of supporting party's net income
  • 2 children: 28% of supporting party's net income
  • 3 children: 32% of supporting party's net income
  • 4 children: 40% of supporting party's net income
  • 5 children: 45% of supporting party's net income
  • 6 or more: 50% of supporting party's net income

The question is "what is considered net income?" That too is set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act:

"Net income" is defined as the total of all income from all sources, minus the following deductions:

  1. Federal income tax (properly calculated withholding or estimated payments);
  2. State income tax (properly calculated withholding or estimated payments);
  3. Social Security (FICA payments);
  4. Mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment;
  5. Union dues;
  6. Dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums and life insurance premiums for life insurance ordered by the court to reasonably secure child support or support ordered pursuant to Section 513, any such order to entail provisions on which the parties agree or, otherwise, in accordance with the limitations set forth in subsection 504(f)(1) and (2);
  7. Prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order;
  8. Expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary to preserve life or health, reasonable expenditures for the benefit of the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts. The court shall reduce net income in determining the minimum amount of support to be ordered only for the period that such payments are due and shall enter an order containing provisions for its self-executing modification upon termination of such payment period;
  9. Foster care payments paid by the Department of Children and Family Services for providing licensed foster care to a foster child. 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3).

But note these percentages of net income are only "guidelines." The Court may deviate, up or down, from the guidelines whenever it is in the best interest of the child. Again, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides factors which the law considers relevant to child support. They are:

(2) The above guidelines shall be applied in each case unless the court makes a finding that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate, after considering the best interests of the child in light of evidence including but not limited to one or more of the following relevant factors:

  1. the financial resources and needs of the child;
  2. the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  3. the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  4. the physical and emotional condition of the child, and his educational needs; and
  5. the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

If the court deviates from the guidelines, the court's finding shall state the amount of support that would have been required under the guidelines, if determinable. The court shall include the reason or reasons for the variance from the guidelines. 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(2).

The above factors are not exclusive. Your attorney can present evidence in negotiations or at trial of any other factors which would impact the needs of the child.

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