Illinois Child Support Lawyers
We are a group of attorneys who don't represent the people that contact us. Rather we give free advice and referrals to independent, experienced attorneys that we feel are best for your situation. The attorneys we suggest aren't free, but they are industry leaders who fight for their clients. We are based in Chicago, but are not just a place to find a Chicago child support law firm. Rather we help everywhere in Illinois. If you want our help we would be thrilled to do so. Call us any time at (312) 346-5320 for a free consultation. For general information on child support please read on.
In Illinois, the 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 the child's support, without regard to marital misconduct. Child support is separate from alimony (spousal support), which is for the ex-spouse's support.
As of July 1, 2017, the way child support is calculated has been drastically changed. Under the old laws the parent who paid child support paid a percentage of their income based on how many kids they have. For example, if you had two kids, you used to pay 28% of your net take home pay to the parent who had primary custody of the kids.
Under the new law, what matters is the joint income of the two parents as well as the total parenting time. Based on how much time you have with your kids will determine what you pay. There has been an income table created by the State of Illinois, a copy of which you can find here, https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/img4101535270001.pdf (https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/img4101535270001.pdf) .
Unlike before, the first thing you must do when calculating child support under the new Illinois law is to determine the combined net income of both parents on a monthly basis. The key word there is net, so it’s after taxes and after deductions like health care insurance that are taken out of your paycheck. So if my net is $6,000 a month and my wife nets $2,000 then our combined monthly income is $8,000. You look at the income share table I linked to and find out where the number $8,000 falls in the chart. After that you look at the number next to how many kids you have. So if we have three kids, our child support number would be $2,262.00.
If one parent has the kids overnight less than 40% of the time, you take the combined income number and multiply it by your income percentage. So if I only had my kids every other weekend, I’d pay 75% of $2,262. If the mom in this example had the kids less than 40% of the time she’d pay the dad 25% of $2,262 because she makes 25% of the joint combined income.
It gets a little more tricky when each parent has the kid 40% or more of the time, but custody isn’t 50/50. When that happens, you take the combined income again and find your number on the table. You then multiply that number by 1.5 so in my example above, the child support number would be $3,393. But wait. You then multiply this new number by your income share percentage (75% in my example) and then by the parenting time the other parent has. So if they have the kid 55% of the time you would multiply the figure by .75 and then by .55. In this case the non-custodial parent would pay $1,399.61 which is about 23% of their income. Under the old law they would have been paying 32% of their net take home pay.
In some cases parents agree to a 50/50 split of the kids. When that happens you find the income share for each parent on the table, so you are looking for two numbers, not one. You multiply each number by 1.5 and then the person with the higher number pays the difference to the person with the lower number.
As before, the court, upon petition of either party, may modify a child support award if a change of circumstance of the parents or child is proven. For example, a child support award may be modified if a salary is cut due to the slow economy or if there is raise. While you can’t go in to court and say you want to change your agreement because there is a new law, if you get a raise you can go in and ask for support to be changed because your circumstances have changed. So you could be making more money than before, but pay less because of the new law.
Neglect or refusal without any lawful excuse" to pay a child support order is a Class A misdemeanor and creates civil liability in the non-paying spouse for the amount of any public assistance provided for the child. It can result in jail time, loss of your driver's license or revocation of your passport.
Sometimes child support is owed to a parent who is on Public Aid. If so the paying parent will have to reimburse Public Aid unless they can prove they made payments. Because of this we suggest that you never give cash for support. Only pay by check and in the memo section of the check write "For Child Support." Otherwise you will have no proof of actually paying an might end up paying twice.
Child support goes to the parent that has primary physical custody. If you don't have it you pay. There are almost no exceptions to this rule unless you come to an agreement about it with your ex. If you do have any agreement about support you should enter it into court with a Judge. Otherwise it is not enforceable.
Child support is one of the most argued issues in family law and probably the topic that we get more calls on that anything else.
Do these laws sound confusing? They certainly can be and the new laws are very confusing. They have a good intention, but getting the result is a bit difficult, especially if you are new to this. Contact us if you have any questions about Illinois child support or would like a referral to an experienced Illinois family lawyer. All calls are free and confidential.