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Illinois child support: Common questions

For parents in Illinois and elsewhere, figuring out how to financially support children after divorce or separation can be a challenging and confusing thing. Thankfully, the state has very specific guidelines when it comes to child support to make it a little easier. If you are one of the many parents dealing with child support issues, this column will work to address some of the common questions asked about this topic.

How is the amount of child support to be paid determined?

This is one of the major questions asked by most parents, which is understandable. For the payor, it is necessary to know how much of one's budget will have to be set aside for payments and, for the recipient, it is nice to get an idea as to how much money will be coming in every month. The state of Illinois determines how much child support is to be paid based on

two things: the net income of both parents and the number of children needing support. The minimum guidelines are as follows:

  • 1 child, 20 percent of payor's net income
  • 2 children, 28 percent of payor's net income
  • 3 children, 32 percent of payor's net income
  • 4 children, 40 percent of payor's net income
  • 5 children, 45 percent of payor's net income
  • 6 or more children, 50 percent of payor's net income

What does child support cover?

Parents who are required to pay child support often want to know how the money is spent. While it is not necessary for custodial parents to provide a list of where the money is going, there are certain things for which the money is supposed to be used. These include the basics of housing, food and shelter. Of course, it is possible to ask for further support for other things, such as medical expenses, extracurricular activities and education.

How is child support paid?

Non-custodial parents are supposed to make payments to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Child Support Services office. The money will then be distributed to the ordered recipient. Doing it in this way is good for both parents, as a record of payments can be

easily kept.

Can a child support order be changed?

Yes, it is possible. There are reasons as to why custodial and non-custodial parents may wish to seek child support order modification. The biggest being that a change in circumstances has been experienced. For example, if you have had an increase or decrease in income due to a

promotion, career change or job loss, this may qualify you for a modification. Of course, modification requests must have the approval of the court - which is not always easy to accomplish.

These are just a few of the common questions parents in Illinois typically have regarding child support. An experienced family law attorney would be able to give further details on each of these, as well as provide answers and guidance to any other questions you may have that specifically concern your case.

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