When a marriage ends, many legal issues may arise in regard to the former couple’s rights and obligations towards one another and any property they may have accumulated. In situations where children are involved, additional issues regarding the way in which the parents must fulfill their obligations to support their children financially may come up too. Under Illinois law, parents have the legal obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary educational, emotional, physical, and mental health needs of their children. As a result, Illinois courts are authorized to require that parents pay child support to ensure that these needs are met. While courts have general guidelines in determining how much child support to award, the assistance of an experienced Illinois family law attorney can help those who are involved in child support disputes obtain more favorable results.
Child Support Determination Factors
Generally speaking, the noncustodial parent will pay child support to the parent who has custody of the child or children. The child support provision of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides courts with a simple calculation in determining the minimum amount of child support to award in a given case. The amount is based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly income, as well as the number of children who require support. For example, the following number of children dictate the percentage of net income required to be paid by the noncustodial parent:
- One child – 20 percent of net income
- Two children – 28 percent of net income
- Three children – 32 percent of net income
- Four children – 40 percent of net income
- Five children – 45 percent of net income
- Six or more children – 50 percent of net income
While these guidelines may seem straightforward, in reality courts have wide discretion in determining how much child support to award in each individual case. The law allows the courts to deviate from these presumed amounts after considering the “best interests of the child in light of the evidence” based on the relevant factors. While the factors the court may consider are not specified in the statute, some examples include:
- The financial needs of the child;
- The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
- The standard of living the child would have had if his or her parents had remained married; and
- The specific physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child.
In addition to the above, a court may order one or both parents to contribute to certain additional expenses, such as health needs, child care, education, and extracurricular activities.
Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney Today
In light of all the additional information a court may consider in determining how much child support is appropriate in a given situation, it is essential that each parent present the evidence supporting their position in the strongest light possible. Child support payments can be of a significant amount, and may have a substantial impact on a parent’s financial situation as well as a child’s well-being. As a result, anyone involved in a child support dispute should discuss their case with attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation a lawyer, call Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at (877) 889-4515.