Child Support

It is both of a child’s parents’ responsibility, married or unmarried, to ensure that the child is financially supported. This is true even after the child’s parents divorce or separate, which is why child support is such an important part of your divorce or parentage settlement if you are a parent.

Unlike other components of a divorce or parentage settlement, your child support order is based primarily on objective facts, rather than subjective determinations on what is in your child’s best interest. Although outstanding needs can push the court to deviate from the established child support formula, you can usually accurately estimate what your child support order will be using the formula and by discussing your case with your lawyer.

How Child Support is Calculated in Illinois

In Illinois, child support is calculated as follows:

  • First, the court determines the couple’s total net income;
  • Using its income shares chart the court determines how much the average household with that combined net income spends on its children, based on the number of children in the household;
  • The court then determines the percentage that each parent contributes to the combined amount of money the household spends on its children; and
  • With the couple’s parenting time breakdown in mind, it determines how much money each parent should be contributing to the children’s care each month, then develops a child support order using this figure.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is meant to offset the costs of caring for one’s children. It can be used to cover anything directly or tangentially related to raising children, such as higher rent on a larger apartment or grocery bills. It can also be used to cover your children’s school supplies, childcare, extracurricular costs, and your children’s medical needs, however, in many cases, a parent can be ordered to pay these expenses above and beyond child support.

Modifying or Terminating a Child Support Order

In most cases, a child support order continues until the child turns 18. If your child graduates after he or she turns 18, child support may continue until he or she graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.

When a child has a mental or physical disability that prevents him or her from being self-supporting, child support may continue into his or her adulthood. Helping an adult child with his or her college expenses is usually not part of paying child support, but both parents can be ordered to contribute to an adult child’s college expenses after child support terminates.

Sometimes, life’s circumstances make it necessary to modify a child support order before it naturally terminates. When this is the case, the parent seeking the modification must provide evidence that he or she has experienced a “substantial change in circumstances,” such as job loss, an illness or injury, or retirement.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Child Support Lawyer

When you have minor children, a child support order is an important part of your divorce or parentage settlement. Learn more about how child support is calculated, how you can modify or terminate your child support order when appropriate, and how you can enforce your child support order if your former spouse or partner is not making his or her payments during your legal consultation with an experienced family lawyer. To get started, contact The Law Office of Gina L. Colaluca, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.