Child Support & Maintenance

What does child support consist of in Illinois? 

In a divorce in Illinois, both parents have a responsibility to financially support their children. Child support consists of payments made from one parent to another to help with the burden of child-related costs and to help maintain the child’s standard of living after a divorce. Certain child related expenses are treated separately from child support. Medical expenses, childcare, extracurricular activity and education expenses are often divided between the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

How is child support determined in Chicago and the Chicagoland suburbs?

To determine child support, the net income of each parent is calculated. These sums are added together to arrive at the combined net income.  The percentage of each parent’s net income in the combined income amount is determined. The basic child support obligation is calculated by plugging the combined net income into an income shares chart. That number is multiplied by the percentage for each parent’s net income to determine each parent’s child support obligation. The non-paying parent’s obligation is presumed to be already applied to the child. The other parent’s obligation must be paid to the non-paying parent.

What is maintenance?

Maintenance is the term used in Illinois for alimony or spousal support. Family court judges are not required to order maintenance and it is not awarded in every divorce. Maintenance may be appropriate when there is a discrepancy in income between the divorcing spouses.

How is spousal maintenance determined in a divorce?

When spousal maintenance is awarded in a divorce, the amount is calculated using this formula: (33% of the payor’s net income) – (25% of the payee’s net income) = maintenance amount. The maintenance amount cannot cause a spouse’s income to exceed 40% of the combined income of both spouses. The duration of maintenance payments is determined by the duration of the marriage. Maintenance payments continue for a percentage of the length of the marriage, and the longer the marriage, the higher that percentage.

How does spousal maintenance affect child support?

Responsibility of each parent for child support is based on that parent’s net income relative to the other parent and the combined net incomes of both parents. Spousal maintenance payments received by one parent must be included in that parent’s gross income for purposes of calculating child support. The greater a parent’s income compared to the other parent, the less he or she receives in child support. For the same reason, maintenance payments to the other parent (but not to another party) reduce the payor’s net income and will likely reduce his or her child support obligation.

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