This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Every situation is different and you should hire an attorney to answer questions about your specific case.
In Illinois, child support is determined pursuant to statute. That statute takes into how many children they have together, account how much time the child/children spends at both homes and the incomes of both parents.
Illinois has published a calculator that does this. It asks the gross monthly income of both parents, how many nights the child spends with each and the cost for insurance for the child. It also asks how may people are being insured for that cost.
It then determines each parent’s statutory net income. This is a number that is different than what you might see on your check.
In doing so, the calculator also assumes that the parent with more time is claiming the child as his or her dependent on their taxes. It further assumes that each person is withholding their taxes at the right amount and never receives a refund.
Parents can agree to child support amounts in some circumstances. The Court does have the final say on the correct amounts that should be paid. If the calculation determine that one parent should be paying $2,200 a month and the parties agree on $200, the Court would probably reject the agreement. If, on the other hand, the paying parent should be paying $900 a month, and the parties agree on $750 a month if the paying parent will also pay for another of the child's expenses, then the Court would likely find that the agreement you have reached is satisfactory. The Court's job in all hild support matters is to make sure that children are supported.
I am often asked if child support has to be paid if parents share time with the child. The answer is yes. There was a Illinois Supreme Court case called In re Marriage of Turk that answered that question. The Court stated that since child support is for the benefit of the child, to ensure that the child has adequate support in both houses. In that case, the custodial parent ended up paying support to the non-custodial parent. The revised statute takes the number of nights into account as well as situations where the parents have equal time.
There are some nuances that come into play that are specific to your case. I have been calculating child support and helping clients with child support questions for over 17 years. I have a good understanding of the nuances and exceptions and when they might apply. In every divorce involving minor children, I do these calculations and discuss the support amounts, what the Court will and will not accept and draft accordingly.
If your child support is the last thing holding you back on reaching a final agreement with your child’s other parent, take your W2s and determine it for yourself here.
If you can settle this, as well as the other issues, such as time with your child, holidays, and how you will pay for your child’s needs, I would be happy to help you get these agreements into Court orders - all you have to do is reach out when you are ready.