Child Support Overview in Illinois

Child Support
Child Support Overview in Illinois
April 05, 2024
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Child support in Illinois is guided by specific state laws and regulations designed to ensure that children receive the necessary financial support from their parents, even when the parents are not living together. Here’s an overview of how child support works in Illinois, highlighting its key aspects:

Determination of Child Support

  • Income Shares Model: Illinois uses the “Income Shares” model for determining child support. This model considers the combined income of both parents and allocates the responsibility for child support based on each parent’s share of the total income.
  • Basic Support Obligations: The state has established basic child support obligation tables that specify the amount of support corresponding to the parents’ combined income and the number of children. The actual amount each parent is responsible for will depend on their respective contributions to the combined income.

Factors Influencing Child Support Amounts

  • Additional Expenses: Beyond the basic obligation, the court may also consider costs related to health care, education, extracurricular activities, and child care when determining the total child support obligation.
  • Shared Parenting Situations: When children spend a significant amount of time with each parent (known as shared physical care), the child support amounts may be adjusted to reflect the time each parent spends with the child.

Payment and Enforcement

  • Payment Process: Child support payments in Illinois can be made directly between parents or through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU), which processes and records payments. Employers may also be required to withhold child support from a paying parent’s income.
  • Enforcement: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) assists in enforcing child support orders. Enforcement measures can include wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds, and suspending licenses.

Modification and Termination

  • Modification of Orders: Either parent can request a review and modification of the child support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances. This could include changes in income, employment status, or the needs of the child.
  • Termination: Child support obligations in Illinois typically continue until the child turns 18 or graduates high school but not beyond age 19. Support may extend beyond these ages for children with disabilities.

Legal Assistance and Resources

  • Parents seeking to establish, modify, or enforce child support orders can benefit from legal assistance. The Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) and the HFS DCSS offer resources and support for navigating child support cases.

Illinois’ approach to child support emphasizes the child’s welfare and the shared responsibility of both parents, regardless of their relationship status. By taking into account the financial capabilities of both parents and the needs of the child, Illinois aims to ensure a fair and adequate support system for children whose parents are not living together.

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