Illinois Child Support Guidelines

A child has a legal right to receive child support from both parents. Child support is the amount of money that a non-custodial parent must pay for his or her minor child. In Illinois, child support calculations are generally based on the parents' income.

What Guidelines Will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

Child support calculations are a complicated and each case is unique, so this article simply provides the basic guidelines. In Illinois, the minimum child support that a parent is required to pay is based on an "income shares" model. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services provides the child support guidelines, which includes worksheets to help with child support calculations and a table that shows the percentage of combined net income that parents living together usually spend on their children. In cases of "shared parenting" - when the child is overnight with each parent for at least 146 nights per year - the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5 and the amount of time each parent spends with the child will factor into child support calculations.

Determining Net Income for Child Support Calculations

Net income is gross income minus either (1) the standardized tax amount or (2) individualized tax amount, and any applicable adjustments. Gross income is defined as income from all sources, except the following:

  • Benefits from public assistance programs (i.e. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); or
  • Income or benefits a parent receives for other children in the household.

The standardized tax amount is the total for state and federal income taxes for a single person claiming the standard tax deduction, one personal exemption, and the applicable number of dependency exemptions for the child(ren) of the parties. It also includes Social Security and Medicaid taxes, which are calculated at the Federal Insurance Contributions Act rate. The individualized tax amount is only used if there's an agreement between the parties to use it (unless the court rejects it for good cause) or if the court determines it's appropriate after a summary or evidentiary hearing.

What Expenses Can an Illinois Judge Include in the Support Order?

Child support will include financial support for basic needs, such as food and clothing. It will also include housing, transportation, activities, and medical care costs. The non-custodial parent can also be responsible for daycare, extracurricular activities, private school expenses, and medical expenses that aren't covered by insurance.

When Does a Parent's Support Obligation End?

Most support obligations end when the child turns 18 years old, or 19 years old if the child is still in high school. Child support can also end if the child becomes "emancipated." A child is "emancipated" when he or she:

  • gets married;
  • joins the military;
  • gets a job and no longer requires their parent's support; or
  • moves out on their own and wants to be independent.

Illinois Child Support Guidelines at a Glance

There are benefits to reading the actual statute, but reading about the statute in plain English can help to better understand the laws that apply to you. The chart below offers a helpful overview of Illinois laws related to child support calculations.

Code Section(s) Illinois Statutes Chapter 750 Section 5/505
Who's Responsible? Both parents.
Deviating from the Guidelines

The court will generally award child support by applying the child support guidelines unless it finds that the amount would be inappropriate. To determine if the guidelines would be inappropriate, the court will consider the following one or more of the following factors:

  • Financial resources and needs of the child;
  • Financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  • Financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent;
  • The physical and emotion condition of the child;
  • The child's educational needs; and
  • The standard of living the child would have had if the parents had stayed married.
What's Included in a Support Order? Monetary support (food, clothing, and shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses. Also might include child care, unpaid medical bills, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.
How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support? Until the child is 18 years old, or 19 years old if still in high school. Support will end if the child becomes emancipated.
College Expenses

At the discretion of the judge, education expenses for a non-minor child may be awarded. These expenses may include:

  • Room/board;
  • Dues/tuition;
  • Transportation/books/fees;
  • Registration/application costs;
  • Medical expenses; and/or
  • Living expenses.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Illinois Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

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Learn More About Illinois Child Support Guidelines: Call a Lawyer

Setting the appropriate amount for child support is a critical step in ensuring that parents are fulfilling their child-rearing duties. Illinois' child support guidelines help to fulfill that goal. However, you might need help in understanding how these guidelines work. If you're a parent who wants more information about child support calculations, then you should talk to an Illinois family law attorney near you.

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