Child Support

What is Child Support?

A court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for his support, without regard to marital misconduct. The duty of support owed to a minor child includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.

How is Child Support Calculated?

750 ILCS 5/505(a) sets forth the guidelines for determining the proper amount of child support.

(Number of Children) % of Supporting Party’s Net Income

(1) 20%
(2) 28%
(3) 32%
(4) 40%
(5) 45%
(6 or more) 50%

The above guidelines are applied unless the court determines that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate after considering the best interests of the child. Factors the court may consider include:

  • The financial resources and needs of the child;
  • The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child and his educational needs;
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

What if a Party Fails to Pay Support?

Failure to comply with a support order is punishable as in other cases of contempt. In addition to other penalties provided by law, the court may, after finding the parent guilty of contempt, order that the parent be:

  • Placed on probation with conditions as the court deems fit;
  • Sentenced to periodic imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months.

750 ILCS 5/505(b) allows the court to order that the driver’s license of a parent who is 90 days or more behind in his or her child support payments be suspended.

How is Child Support Paid?

Child support may be paid directly from one spouse to the other or it may be deducted out of one’s pay, sent to the State Disbursement Unit and then forwarded to the recipient.