Like other states, Illinois uses a set of guidelines to determine the correct amount of child support each parent should pay. The idea behind such guidelines is to make sure that the child gets the financial support that is needed from both parents in order for the child to maintain a similar standard of living as the child would have had if both parents had been living in the same home. The guidelines also ensure that parents are treated consistently no matter which judge they are in front of.
The guidelines in Illinois rely heavily on each parent’s income in order to calculate the appropriate amount of child support. However, the guidelines also take other factors into account, such as the fact that one or both parents may be providing health insurance and the fact that the non-custodial parent may spend a lot of time with the child and thus provide additional support in the form of food and shelter.
Basically, the judge will order support that is 20 percent of a parent’s net income if the parent has one child that requires support. The percentage goes up as more children are added into the equation, such that a parent with six or more children requiring child support will be expected to contribute half of net income.
While the formula is relatively simple in Illinois, the numbers that actually go in to the formula can vary and can also be subject to a great deal of contention. For instance, a parent may claim not to have much income simply because business is down in a given year, while the other parent may think that the ex-spouse’s income is much higher when one considers the big picture.