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How is Child Support Determined?

NOTE: A new Illinois law governing how child support is calculated went into effect in July 2017. Please visit our child support page for details

child support determined, Illinois family law attorneys, determine child supportThe process of obtaining a divorce can be difficult and complicated. The complexity increases when children are involved. In addition to issues like custody and visitation, a determination of the amount of child support must be made. The amount of child support depends on a variety of factors and failure to pay can have significant consequences.

Determining the Amount:

Under Illinois law, for purposes of child support, a minor child is anyone under the age of 18 or anyone under the age of 19 who is still in high school. The court may order either or both parents owing a “duty of support” to a child of the marriage, to pay child support. A duty of support “includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.”

The amount of child support to be paid is a percentage of the support paying parent's net income based upon the number of children. The following chart is illustrative:

Number of Children

Percent of Supporting Party's Net Income



20 percent


28 percent


32 percent


40 percent


45 percent

6 or more

50 percent

Notwithstanding, a court may deviate from the guidelines above if it is found to be in the best interest of the minor child. In making a decision to deviate from the guidelines, a court considers all of the evidence including, but not limited to, one or more of the following factors:

  • The financial resources and needs of the child;
  • The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  • The standard of living the child would have had if the marriage had not ended;
  • The physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child;
  • The educational needs of the child; and
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

In addition to ordering child support payments, the court may order either or both parents to contribute to the following expenses:

  • Health, dental, and life insurance coverage;
  • Health care needs not covered by insurance;
  • Child and day care;
  • Educational expenses; and
  • Extracurricular activities.

Penalties for not Paying:

A parent who fails to pay court ordered child support may be found to be in contempt of court. Such a finding could lead to periodic imprisonment for a period of up to six months, with temporary release only to go to work. During the periodic imprisonment, the court may order part or all of the earnings of the individual not paying support to be paid to the Clerk of the Circuit Court or to the parent with custody.

Additionally, the Non-Support Punishment Act provides even greater penalties for non-payment of child support. A person may be charged with a class A misdemeanor if he or she has the ability to pay the support but willfully refuses and the obligation has been unpaid for over six months or the amount owed is greater than $5,000. A person may be charged with a class 4 felony if either of the following occurs:

  • The person leaves the state to evade the support payment and the obligation has been unpaid for more than six months or the amount owed is greater than $10,000; or
  • The person has the ability to pay but willfully refuses and the obligation has been unpaid for over one year or the amount owed is greater than $20,000.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney:

If you have children and are in the process of going through a divorce, you should speak to an experienced attorney. Our Illinois family law attorneys can help you through all aspects of child support. Please contact us today for a consultation.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree