Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

How to calculate a child support obligation

Many people in Illinois have a child support obligation. Child support may be ordered any time that two people have a child together and they are either divorced or were never married in the first place. Child support orders can issue in these situations because the state wants to ensure that the child's financial needs are being met by both parents. Generally, the non-custodial parent will owe the custodial parent child support.

The amount of child support contained within an order is determined by state statutes, which establish guidelines that must be followed. In Illinois, child support is based on the number of children that a non-custodial parent has and the non-custodial parent's net income. Under Illinois' Child Support Guidelines, a certain percentage of a parent's net income will go to child support, depending on the number of children that a parent has. For a support order involving only one child, 20% of a parent's income will go to child support and that percentage increases for each additional child involved in the child support order. A parent's net income consists of all income from all sources, minus a number of potential deductions such as taxes, health and dental insurance premiums, union dues and others.

A judge may deviate from these guidelines, however, if doing so would be in the best interests of the child. The deviation may be based on factors such as the financial needs and resources of the child, the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent, the child's educational needs and the standard of living that the child enjoyed during the marriage.

While the guidelines may seem somewhat rigid, there are many variables associated with setting a child support obligation. A parent's net income may be disputed and the factors for deviations may be analyzed differently. So, a child support obligation may not be as clear-cut as one thinks.

Despite the child support guidelines in Illinois, many aspects of a child support obligation may be disputed. Attorneys understand these disputable factors and may be able to guide one through the process.

Source:, "Calculating child support obligation" accessed on August 4, 2014.

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