Basic Guide to Illinois Child Support
2024 Basic Guide to Illinois Child Support
Child Support Calculators / Estimators
This page provides general information on Illinois child support. If you are interested in estimating your potential child support, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides two separate Illinois Child Support Calculators / Estimators. Further information can be found by clicking the button below:
Child Support: In General
Despite efforts to simplify things, child support in Illinois remains a bit complex. A good place to begin is with a review of the statute, specifically 750 ILCS 5/505.
The Statute: 750 ILCS 5/505
In very general terms, when calculating the amount of child support which will be ordered by the court. the incomes of both parents will be considered.
750 ILCS 505(a)(1) provides “child support guidelines” which have the following purposes:
(A) to establish as State policy an adequate standard of support for a child, subject to the ability of parents to pay;
(B) to make child support obligations more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of parents in similar circumstances;
(C) to improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing levels of child support;
(D) to calculate child support based upon the parents’ combined net income estimated to have been allocated for the support of the child if the parents and child were living in an intact household;
(E) to adjust child support based upon the needs of the child; and
(F) to allocate the amount of child support to be paid by each parent based upon a parent’s net income and the child’s physical care arrangements.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(1.5) provides the method by which the court shall compute the basic child support obligation:
(A) determine each parent’s monthly net income;
(B) add the parents’ monthly net incomes together to determine the combined monthly net income of the parents;
(C) select the corresponding appropriate amount from the schedule of basic child support obligations based on the parties’ combined monthly net income and number of children of the parties; and
(D) calculate each parent’s percentage share of the basic child support obligation. Although a monetary obligation is computed for each parent as child support, the receiving parent’s share is not payable to the other parent and is presumed to be spent directly on the child.
Illinois Child Support Tools
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides an Illinois Child Support Estimator which can be found here.
In addition, Illinois Legal Aid Online provides two helpful info-graphics.
The first is appropriate when both parents have at least 146 overnights per year, found here.
The second is for situations where one parent has less than 146 overnights per year, found here.
Can the Illinois Child Support Guidelines Ever Be Inappropriate?
There may be times where the court finds that application of the guidelines described above would be inappropriate. These circumstances are governed by 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(2) which provides as follows:
The court shall determine child support in each case by applying the child support guidelines unless the court makes a finding that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate, after considering the best interests of the child and evidence which shows relevant factors including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:
(A) the financial resources and needs of the child;
(B) the financial resources and needs of the parents;
(C) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or civil union not been dissolved; and
(D) the physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(2)
Illinois Child Support Guideline Deviation Factors
In high income cases, it is possible that the incomes are higher than the highest level included in the guideline schedules which are provided by Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. In those cases 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.5) provides that:
A court may use its discretion to determine child support if the combined adjusted net income of the parties exceeds the highest level of the schedule of basic child support obligation, except that the basic child support obligation shall not be less than the highest level of combined net income set forth in the schedule of basic child support obligation.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.5)
Important Illinois Child Support Definitions
When considering Illinois child support, there are a few terms that you should be familiar with:
Gross Income means the total of all income from all sources, except “gross income” does not include:
(i) benefits received by the parent from means-tested public assistance programs, including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or
(ii) benefits and income received by the parent for other children in the household, including, but not limited to, child support, survivor benefits, and foster care payments.
Social security disability and retirement benefits paid for the benefit of the subject child must be included in the disabled or retired parent’s gross income for purposes of calculating the parent’s child support obligation, but the parent is entitled to a child support credit for the amount of benefits paid to the other party for the child.
“Gross income” includes maintenance treated as taxable income for federal income tax purposes to the payee and received pursuant to a court order in the pending proceedings or any other proceedings and shall be included in the payee’s gross income for purposes of calculating the parent’s child support obligation.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3)(A)
Net Income means:
gross income minus either the standardized tax amount calculated pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this paragraph (3) or the individualized tax amount calculated pursuant to subparagraph (D) of this paragraph (3), and minus any adjustments pursuant to subparagraph (F) of this paragraph (3).
The standardized tax amount shall be used unless the requirements for an individualized tax amount set forth in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph (3) are met.
“Net income” includes maintenance not includable in the gross taxable income of the payee for federal income tax purposes under a court order in the pending proceedings or any other proceedings and shall be included in the payee’s net income for purposes of calculating the parent’s child support obligation.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3)(B)
Shared Physical Care occurs when:
each parent exercises 146 or more overnights per year with the child. In that case, the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 to calculate the shared care child support obligation.
750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3.8)
This Basic Guide to Illinois Child Support page contains some general information, but it is no replacement for an individualized consultation with an attorney.
If you need help, or have questions about the information on the Basic Guide to Illinois Child Support page, please call, or schedule a free, 30 minute consultation via Zoom, to speak with an attorney directly about your specific circumstances.