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Generally, society expects that a parent will provide both emotional and financial support for their children. And when parents are no longer together, and one parent has primary custody of their minor child, the other parent is often ordered by a court to provide monthly financial support to help raise the child.
In Illinois, the minimum monthly amount the non-custodial parent will pay by law is as follows:
Number of Children Percentage of Net Income
6 or more 50
A judge can deviate from these guidelines only if it is in the best interest of the child. The judge deviating from the guidelines has to consider certain factors, and also state why he or she deviated from the guidelines.
The non-custodial parent’s net income is calculated by taking all sources of income and subtracting the amount of certain deductions; the amount that remains is the net income. Some of these deductions include:
Federal and state income taxes;
Mandatory retirement contributions if required by the employer or by law;
Dependent and individual health and life insurance premiums;
Any other support payments ordered by a court and actually being paid; and
Payments made for student loans or medical debt.
If the non-custodial parent’s net income cannot be determined in order to calculate the minimum amount of support to be paid, the court may award an amount it considers reasonable.
Sometimes the non-custodial parent is under the assumption that if he or she provides other gifts and necessities to the child, it should count towards the amount owed for child support. This is not true, and if you fail to pay child support because you, for example, buy your child shoes and clothes, you are not complying with the court order.
Modifications and Failure to Pay What is Ordered
If you were ordered to pay a certain monthly amount in child support while you were employed, and you later lost your job, you may have the order modified. There are other situations that may justify a modification, mainly due to a similar change in net income. Without a modification, you could easily get behind in your payments and could lead to jail time or even public shaming. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is authorized by Illinois law to publicly disclose information about parents who owe more than $5,000 in child support. The Department provides this information on this website, and includes pictures of the parents in arrears.
Contact an Attorney
If you were ordered to pay child support but your circumstances have changed to the point where you can no longer afford the payments, contact Martoccio & Martoccio to see how our attorneys can help get you a support order modification.