Parents must provide for their children, regardless of whether they are married or divorced. But unlike married parents who internally decide how each will cover their child’s needs, divorcing parents generally have to obtain a child support order from the court.
Illinois courts follow certain guidelines in determining the parents’ financial obligations, starting with the basic child support computation.
State laws on calculating basic child support
Under Illinois child support laws, courts observe the following steps in computing the basic child support obligation:
- Determine each parent’s monthly net income.
- Determine the parents’ combined monthly net income by adding their individual monthly net incomes.
- Refer to the schedule of basic child support obligations to find the corresponding appropriate amount depending on the parents’ combined monthly net income and number of children.
- Calculate each parent’s percentage share of the basic child support obligation.
Note that while both parents will receive a monetary computation of their obligation, the share of the parent living with the child is not payable. Instead, the law will presume that they will directly spend their share on the child and their needs while living with them.
Basic child support is not necessarily the final support obligation
Basic child support is an initial computation of the parents’ obligation. Usually, it adjusts depending on the unique circumstances of each case, such as the child’s needs, each parent’s financial capacity and the physical care arrangement between parents.
Taking an active part in the process
Child support matters can confuse parents, especially when it involves specific computation and consideration of several determining factors. Placing efforts to understand the process through available resources and a knowledgeable legal representative can help parents protect their rights and their children’s best interests.