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Must Illinois courts strictly apply the Child Support Guidelines?

Generally speaking, Illinois courts must follow the Child Support Guidelines, which are established under the laws of this state, when ordering a parent in Rockford to pay child support. What this means is that the court must determine what numbers to enter into the child support formula prescribed under the Guidelines. However, once it has done so and has made a support calculation using the formula, the parents generally must take the result as they find it. In other words, if the formula says a parent owes $200 a week, then that parent owes $200 a week, even if the parent feels that amount is going to be hard to afford.

However, there are certain situations in which following the Guidelines strictly would lead to an unfair result. Unfair results can happen on both ends of the spectrum. In some cases, the support called for in the Guidelines is simply not enough. In other cases, the support is obviously too high for the parent who must try to afford it.

Fortunately, Illinois allows parents to make arguments that the child support they are ordered to pay under the Guidelines is not appropriate for the circumstances. When making this argument, the parent will need to present evidence regarding both the actual financial needs of both of the parents as well as the child. Additionally, the court can consider any special medical, psychological or educational needs the child may have.

Finally, the court can also examine what the child's standard of living was likely to have been had his parents been living together, as the point of child support is to put the child in the same position he would be in if his parents were to live in the same home and pool their income and expenses.

Rockford parents who, for whatever reason, feel that their child support under the Guidelines does not take full account of their unique circumstances, may have legal options.

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Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map