Illinois law sets the requirements for child support in its Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The law authorizes the court to order one or both parents to provide for the physical, mental and emotional health needs of their children following the legal dissolution of the marriage. The duty of support applies to any child less than 18 years old and to any child under 19 years old and still attending high school.
The guidelines require the court to consider the non-custodial parent’s net income and the number of children for which the parent is responsible. They establish the minimum amount that may be ordered, ranging from 20 percent of net income for support of one child to 50 percent of net income for support of six or more children. The court also considers the best interests of the child in making a support order.
The court calculates net income by deducting specified expenses from the parent’s total income from all sources. Deductions include federal and state income tax, social security tax, union dues and mandatory contributions to a retirement fund. The court also deducts health insurance premiums, necessary medical expenses, prior court-ordered support and payments on debt for expenses related to the individual’s livelihood. The court may also deduct other reasonable expenses that benefit the child and the other parent.
The court may deviate from the guidelines to meet the best interests of the child. The court considers the specific needs of the child and the custodial parent, as well as their financial resources. The court also looks at the child’s physical and emotional condition, her educational needs and the standard of living that the child would experience if the parents were still together. The court may also consider the non-custodial parent’s needs and financial resources.
If you fail to comply with a court order for support, the court may fine you or put you in jail for contempt of court. The court may place you on probation and may sentence you to up to six months in jail. The court may examine your assets and force you to surrender them in payment of support. If you are more than 90 days behind on your support payments, the court may suspend your driver’s license.
When you are subject to a child support order, you must report to the court within 10 days of changing jobs or being terminated from your job. If you are unemployed, the court may require you to look for work and to provide the court with details of your job search. If you or your child’s custodial parent move, you must inform the other parent within five days of the change in residence.