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Chicago Divorce Lawyer

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Section 505(a)(1) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes “the minimum amount of child support” a Court is to use in determining child support. Those guidelines set a percentage to be paid of a parent’s “ net income”: 20% for one (1) child; 28% for two (2) children; 32% for three(3) children; 40% for four(4) children; 45% for five (5) children; and 50% for six(6) or more children.

The child support statute defines “net income” as “the total of all income from all sources, minus the following deductions:

(a) Federal income tax payments (properly calculated withholding or estimated tax payments);

(b) State income tax (properly calculated withholding or estimated tax payments);

(c) Social Security (FICA payments);

(d) Mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment;

(e) Union dues;

(f) Dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums;

(g) Prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order;

(h) Expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary to preserve life or health, reasonable expenditures for the benefit of the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts. The law provides that this includes the repayment of student loans when it is related to the production of income.

These guidelines are customarily applied by courts in divorce cases. However, Illinois law allows a court to deviate from these guidelines, if the facts of a specific case warrant it. Some examples where there have been adjustments are: where one or both parents have an extraordinarily high income; one parent is unemployed; one parent is receiving maintenance; or a child has special needs. Having said this, whether there is a downward or upward deviation is made on a case by case basis and there is no hard and fast rule.

By way of example, in the case of In Re The Marriage of Bush, 191 Ill. App. 3d 249, 547 N.E.2d 590, 138 Ill.Dec. 423 (4th Dist. 1989), one parent had an extraordinarily high income. The 20% amount of child support for a four-year- old child was $30,000.00 per year. The court found this amount excessive because it was disproportionate to the actual needs of the child. The purpose of child support is not to result in a windfall to the custodial parent.


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