Child Support

Whether parents are married or unmarried, both are legally responsible for supporting their child(ren). Chicago parents are subject to minimum amounts for child support, which is calculated according to how many children are being supported by the non-custodial parent, in addition to his or her net income.

Guidelines for Minimum Support

If there were only one child to be supported, the minimum amount that the non-custodial parent would be required to pay would be 20 percent of his or her net income. The percentage increases as the number of children increases. For example, for two children, the non-custodial parent would be ordered to pay 28 percent of their net income. However, if there are six or more children involved, the amount may rise to 50 percent.

When determining the amount of child support to be paid, the court considers the best interests of the child(ren). It may deviate from the set guidelines if there were issues surrounding the needs or financial resources of the child(ren) or the custodial parent.

The standard of living the child(ren) would have experienced if both parents stayed together may also be taken into consideration. If the child(ren) has special educational needs or physical or emotional problems, the amount of child support may be increased to accommodate those needs.

What is Considered Net Income?

The non-custodial parent’s net income is the total of all sources of income after subtracting the following:

  • Federal and state income taxes paid
  • Social Security paid
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Dues paid to unions
  • Insurance premiums paid for health/hospitalization insurance paid for parent and child(ren)
  • Previous obligations for support that have been paid prior to court order
  • Reasonable and necessary expenses to repay debts associated with producing income
  • Necessary medical expenses to preserve parent’s life or health
  • Reasonable expenses that benefit the child(ren) and the custodial parent excluding gifts

If the court is unable to establish the non-custodial parent’s income, it will order child support that is deemed reasonable in accordance with that particular case.

Modification of Child Support

There are circumstances where a non-custodial parent or their child support attorney may request a modification of the child support order. It is a good idea to review a child support every three years to determine if changes should be made to the standing order for child support. It may be possible that there has been a significant change in income for the non-custodial parent where they are making less or more money that would affect how much support they should be paying.