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Child support laws in Illinois

Child support laws in Illinois establish a child's legal right to be supported by both parents. This support can either be direct through physical care or indirect through monetary payments to the person providing care. Most child support issues arise when one parent is providing the majority of direct care and the other parent is refusing to provide monetary assistance for their share of the care. The obligation to provide child support only ends when the child turns 18 or is considered emancipated through marriage, joining the military or declaring their own independence.

Income is the most important of the guidelines when determining the amount of child support to be paid as part of a divorce decree. Each parent is expected to provide a certain percentage of their income as child support. The court will also examine how many children the parent has. As the amount of children increases, the parent will be expected to pay a greater percentage of their net income in support. Most forms of income such as salary, commission, rental income, benefits and so forth are considered net income for the purpose of providing child support.

There are factors that affect child support amounts beyond the simple calculation of net income. The court will examine the best interest of the child and ensure that necessary expenses for the child's care are accounted for. This includes basic needs and can also include medical expenses, educational expenses and day care costs.

Filing for child support is common when one parent refuses to provide their share of responsibility for the child. For example, a mother may sue a father for child support if he is not providing sufficiently for the child's care. This could happen even if the parents were never married so long as paternity is proven.

Source: Findlaw, "Illinois Child Support Guidelines", September 01, 2014

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