Deviation From Child Support Guidelines

The guidelines for child support are set out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The percentage for one child, pursuant to guidelines, is 20 percent, two children is 28 percent, and it goes up from there, at the time of this writing. There are certain circumstances where the court will deviate from that percentage and give either more or less than what the state is recommending. A case where they would get less than the percentage is in the case where you have someone who is making excessive amounts of money, to the point where 20 percent of his or her income would be too much to ask or require that someone pay as and for child support.

One example of this would be someone who is making, let’s say, $500,000 per year, possibly an executive at a major corporation or Fortune 500 company, and they have one child. Twenty percent of that $500,000 a year would be way too much in terms of child support to actually be used for the child. In those cases, that excessive amount would then be in the form of almost like a windfall or maintenance to that ex-spouse, so the court will deviate from the state guideline and order a lesser amount.

In other cases, the court might order more than the state guideline, if you have a situation where a child has special needs, or other issues come up where the amount needed for child support is not being reached at the 20 percent level. The best example of this would be a special needs child who has excessive medical expenses, and who needs more than just 20 percent for sustenance.

Another situation would be if the parties agree to deviate, either up or down, and they can convince the court that it’s in the best interest of the child and the parties to allow for such deviation. In my experience, the judges in Illinois do not like to deviate very often unless there is cause or grounds to do so. Many judges don’t want the word to get out that they’re willing to deviate from the statute, because then other attorneys and other practitioners will try to bring such deviations in front of them. In my experience, the court likes to stick
with the statutory guidelines unless there is just cause to deviate.