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Illinois and child support guidelines

Child support continues to be a confusing topic for many Illinois parents. How much will a father need to pay? How is the amount determined? Can payments be adjusted later on down the road if there are financial changes?

These are just some of the questions that often arise. Part of the reason for the constant confusion is due to the fact that across the country there is no uniform rule on how payments are determined. Rather, each state has its own rules to figure out just how much one parent needs to pay to the other.

In Illinois, child support is determined by statutory guidelines. Typically, the No. 1 factor in determining the amount is the net-income of the non-custodial parent. However, other factors such as the number of children, health care costs and whether the non-custodial parent is already making child support payments for a child from a previous relationship also tend to be taken into account. The income and needs of the custodial parent can also be a factor in making a final determination.

Of course the goal with child support is to maintain the child's standard of living after a divorce or separation. However, the courts do tend to realize that there will be changes considering there are no longer two incomes supporting one household.

Lastly, when there are significant changes to a non-custodial parent's income, child support modifications can typically be made. However, the idea is not to just stop paying or waiting until severely behind, but to rather take a proactive approach and contact a family law attorney as soon as it become apparent that it will become difficult to keep up with payments.

Source: Reuters, "How Child Support Calculations Work," Andrew Lu, Aug. 12, 2012

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