In any divorce proceeding, your kids are your primary concern. Not only do they often not understand what is going on, but their financial, physical, and emotional needs during this time can make it difficult to continue on with “normal” life, no matter how hard you try.
Luckily, this struggle doesn’t continue forever. The closure of a divorce alleviates a lot of tension in most families, allowing parents to better care for their offspring and share parenting time once a case is closed and issues, such as child support, are resolved.
One of the most common questions we receive from both mothers and fathers is “How is the payment calculated?” If you’ve been wondering the same, you’ll find all of the information and answers you need in this article.
How Much Child Support Will I need To Pay In Illinois?
All Illinois attorneys and courts use the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. In any divorce proceeding, attorneys, judges, and other parties will need to reference the Act to arrive at the appropriate calculations to be paid by either one or both parties depending on a number of different factors.
The Court will arrive at payment calculations based on the following guidelines:
- 1 Child – 20 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
- 2 Children – 28 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
- 3 Children – 32 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
- 4 Children – 40 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
- 5 Children – 45 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
- 6 or More Children – 50 percent of the supporting party’s net income.
It’s worth noting that the statute considers any child under the age of 18 (or under the age of 19 who is still attending high school) as a “child.” However, these guidelines are not always followed. In some cases, a deviation is ordered.
What is a Deviation and When Does it Apply?
In any case, the Court may choose to deviate from these standard guidelines. However, it will only do so if there is adequate support and reason to do so in the best interests of any minor involved in the case.
- The financial resources and needs of the child;
- The financial resources and needs of the parents;
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage that would have presumably continued had parents remained married;
- The physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child(ren); and
- Their educational needs.
For example, if one spouse earns an incredibly high income, judges will often deviate downward in their support calculations. They do so because the calculated percentage of this spouse’s net income will be disproportionate to pay for the needs of the child.
Of course, there are other situations in which deviations are required. If you believe you may have a case where a deviation from the statutory guidelines listed above is necessary, contact us at 630-470-9990 to discuss your unique case and have your questions answered.
What Does “Net Income” Mean?
When calculating the child support payment, you’ll need your net income. So, what can you deduct before the calculation is made? There are a number of common expenses:
- Federal income tax;
- State income tax;
- Social Security (FICA) payments;
- Mandatory retirement contributions (required either by law or through your employment);
- Union dues;
- Dependent and individual health/hospitalization premiums and premiums for life insurance that have been court ordered to secure child support payments; and
- Prior obligations from a Court Order for maintenance (spousal support) or child support (from a previous marriage).
How is Regular and Retroactive Child Support Paid?
Many spouses, both husbands and wives, are awarded support as part of their DuPage, Kane, Kendall, or Will County divorce. This helps maintain a standard of living for the minors involved and ensures that they are provided for regardless of what occurs in a divorce case. However, this also leaves a lot to question for both the spouse who is to receive and the spouse who is to pay.
There are two main ways individuals are paid child support (and for that matter, spousal support as well): Directly or through the state disbursement unit. Here, we’ll discuss the difference to ensure you understand your options if you’re awarded the payment as part of your divorce.
Comparing Your Two Options
There is one major difference between payment options if you’re owed support: Trust.
If you trust your ex-spouse to pay, it’s perfectly acceptable to arrange for direct payments made from their bank account to you on a specified day (or specified days) every month. This will be made part of your Marital Settlement Agreement and can be enforced over time if your spouse fails to pay for any reason.
In contrast, you may want to make payment arrangements through the state disbursement unit. This means that you set up payments through the state and the amount of the payment (and again, maintenance) is withheld from your ex-spouses paycheck and put directly into your bank account. This is a much more common arrangement because many former spouses don’t get along or, at a basic level, don’t trust each other to pay as directed.
What if Payments Change Over Time?
As your kids age, your spouse earns more or less after taking on a new job or losing their current job, or other factors change, the amount a spouse is ordered to pay may change as well. When this happens, you can easily change the payment no matter how it’s paid.
Of course, it can be more difficult to switch the payment amount if payments are set through the state disbursement unit because you’ll need a modified Order for Income Withholding filed through the Court. However, if you feel more comfortable with this arrangement, it’s still worth making.
Do You Still Have Questions About Regular or Retroactive Child Support Payments In Illinois?
You don’t need a complicated payment calculator to understand the laws, guidelines, and factors that can affect how much you must pay (or are to be paid) as part of your divorce. However, every case is unique and as such, the specific calculations may vary.
If you would like to discuss this sensitive issue with Larry as part of your free 30-minute consultation for your DuPage, Will, Kane, or Kendall County divorce, contact us today at 630-470-9990 or request a consultation online.
We look forward to offering our 35 years of expertise and guidance to resolve your unique needs and ensure your kids are provided for not only now but in the future as well.