Before a non-custodial parent is ordered to make child support payments, the court must determine how much the parent will be obligated to pay using the Illinois Statutory Guidelines. According to the guidelines, the amount to be paid each month is based on the non-custodial parent's net income and the number of children for which that parent is responsible.
A non-custodial parent's net income is calculated by deducting federal and state income taxes from total income. Social Security payments, union dues, insurance premiums and repayments for debt will also be deducted. Depending on how many children a non-custodial parent has, a certain percentage of what is left over will then go towards child support payments.
A non-custodial parent with one child will normally be ordered to pay 20 percent of net income towards child support. The percentage increases for each additional child up to six children but is never greater than 50 percent of the non-custodial parent's net income. The percentage in the guidelines is just a minimum, however, and a court may rule that the non-custodial parent should pay more in some cases. Some factors that may result in a deviation from the guidelines include the educational needs of the child and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents had stayed married.
A non-custodial parent who is going through a divorce may wish to have legal representation at the child support hearing. By presenting all of the appropriate evidence of the non-custodial parent's income and expenses, an attorney may be able to help ensure that the child support order is based on actual net income. The attorney can also argue for a subsequent modification of the order should the client's financial circumstances change.
Source: Illinois Department of Child Support Services, "Calculating Child Support Obligation", October 02, 2014