The Chicago Family Law Blog

How Much Do you Owe? Learn About Illinois Child Support Laws

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With the Joe Walsh child support saga dominating the news, you may be curious at how the court came up with the $2,136 a month figure that Walsh supposedly owes his ex-wife.

Illinois child support laws generally include within payments the obligation to provide for the physical, mental, and emotional health needs of a child. This can include things like clothing, education, food, and other needs for a child under the age of 18.

The court usually follows a statutory formula in determining the amount of child support owed. The formula is based on the number of children that someone has, and the more children someone has, the more child support they have to pay:

  • 1 child, 20% of net income
  • 2 children, 28%
  • 3 children, 32%
  • 4 children, 40%
  • 5 children, 45%
  • 6 or more children, 50%

Keep in mind that the guidelines provide the minimum amount of child support that someone has to pay. Courts can alter from the guidelines depending upon fact-specific circumstances such as financial resources, needs of a child, standard of living that the child enjoyed, educational needs, etc. If a court deviates from the guidelines, it will have to state facts and give reasons for the deviation.

Illinois child support laws are generally based on a statutory formula for the number of children that you have. The more children you have, the more you pay. Also, remember that child support is based on "net income," which is someone's after-tax income. So, you could be paying well over half your salary to child support.

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