Child support is money used to feed, clothe, and house your children. It is generally paid to the parent who is designated as the “residential custodian” of the children, by the “non-custodial” parent. In states like Illinois, which have abolished the concept of child custody, child support is now paid by the person who is designated as the “supporting parent” in the divorce or parentage judgment. Plus, in addition to support, many states also require parents to contribute to the payment of their children’s expenses after divorce.
Calculating Child Support
Child support laws vary from state to state. In order to calculate how much support you will have to pay or can expect to receive, you must check the law in your particular state.
Most states, including Illinois, have guidelines for establishing the amount of money that must be paid for child support. These guidelines vary from state to state. They may be based on one parent’s income, or they may take both parents’ incomes into consideration. The amount of time a parent spends with a child also may or may not affect the amount of support that s/he pays or receives. It is very important that you check the laws in your state to find out exactly how child support will be calculated in your case.
In Illinois, child support is currently calculated solely upon the net income of the supporting parent alone. While it is rumored that this may change, right now, how much one parent pays in support also bears no relationship to how much time that parent spends with a child. Unless a judge decides to deviate from the child support guidelines, the supporting parent will still have to pay child support, no matter how much time the children spend with him/her.
Guideline child support in Illinois is calculated as follows:
1 child – 20% of the supporting parent’s net income
2 children – 28% of the supporting parent’s net income
3 children – 32% of the supporting parent’s net income
4 children – 40% of the supporting parent’s net income
5 children – 45% of the supporting parent’s net income
6 or more – 50% of the supporting parent’s net income
Paying for Children’s Expenses in Addition to Child Support
In many states, including Illinois, in addition to paying child support, the supporting parent must contribute to the payment of certain expenses for the children. These expenses typically include the payments necessary to maintain medical insurance for the children, and to pay for the children’s uncovered medical expenses. They may include the payment of other expenses as well.
In Illinois, either or both parents may be ordered to pay the following expenses for their children:
1. The health needs not covered by insurance;
2. Child care expenses;
3. Children’s educational expenses; and
4. The cost of children’s extracurricular activities.
Unlike in many other states, in Illinois divorced parents are also required to contribute to their children’s college educational expenses. To determine what your state requires regarding the payment of expenses for the children, check with an experienced divorce lawyer in your area.
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