Illinois Child Support: A Comprehensive Guide

Child playing with dried leaves. Know your Illinois Child Support obligations.Navigating the complexities of child support in Illinois can be a daunting task for many parents. Whether you are going through a divorce or seeking to understand your obligations or entitlements, having accurate information and good legal counsel crucial. In this article, I will explain some of the intricacies of Illinois child support, including how guideline child support is calculated, and introduce you to my Chicago divorce law firm: The Witt Law Firm, P.C.

What is Child Support?

Child support is a financial obligation paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to cover a portion of the child’s living expenses. This includes necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care. In Illinois, both parents are responsible for supporting their children, and the state’s guidelines aim to ensure that child support orders are equitable and meet the needs of the children involved.

Parents paying Illinois child support are sometimes concerned that the parent receiving the child support is not spending all of the funds on the child or children.  Some of my clients have asked me over the years if the parent receiving child support must spend all of the funds on the children.  Illinois law does not require that the recipient of the child support show proof that all of the child support funds are being spent on the children.  Child support is in part for things like housing and transportation, which the parent will use as well.   Some of the daily expenses for children are small and Illinois keeping proof of every expense would be arduous. However,  a parent can lose custody if the parent is not properly caring for the child.  A parent should not spend funds on frivolous expenses for the parent and not provide for the child in a way that is in the child’s best interest.   

Illinois Child Support Guidelines

Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/505), child support amounts are determined based on the “Income Shares” model. This model considers the combined income of both parents and the number of children to calculate the support amount. It aims to ensure that children receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received if the parents lived together.

How is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?

  1. Determine Each Parent’s Net Income: The first step in calculating child support is to ascertain each parent’s net income. This involves subtracting certain deductions, such as taxes and mandatory retirement contributions, from their gross income.
  2. Combine Parents’ Net Incomes: The net incomes of both parents are then combined to determine the family’s total financial resources available for child support.
  3. Refer to the Illinois Child Support Guidelines Chart: Illinois provides a chart that specifies the percentage of the combined net income that should be allocated for child support, based on the number of children. This guideline ensures fairness and consistency in child support orders.
  4. Adjustments for Shared Parenting Time: If the non-custodial parent has the child for at least 146 overnights per year, the child support amount may be adjusted to account for the increased financial responsibilities during these periods.
  5. Consider Additional Expenses: The court may also consider additional expenses, such as health care, education, and extracurricular activities, when determining the final child support amount.

For detailed calculations and considerations specific to your situation, parents should consult with a family law attorney who is well-versed in Illinois child support laws.  The Witt Law Firm, P.C. exclusively handles family law. 

The Illinois statute for deviating from guideline child support is designed to ensure that the financial support provided for a child is fair, equitable, and meets the child’s needs, even when this means diverging from the standard calculation methods. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/505(a)(2)), courts have the discretion to deviate from the guideline amounts when it is deemed necessary to serve the best interests of the child. Factors that may lead to such deviation include the financial resources and needs of the child, the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved, and the physical and emotional condition of the child. Additionally, the statute considers the educational needs of the child and the financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent. This approach allows for flexibility in addressing the unique circumstances of each family while maintaining the child’s welfare as the paramount concern.

Why Choose The Witt Law Firm, P.C.?

When dealing with child support matters, having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney by your side can make a significant difference. The Witt Law Firm, P.C., located in the heart of Chicago, specializes in family law and is committed to guiding you through the complexities of the Illinois child support system.

Personalized Legal Strategy: Understanding that every family situation is unique, The Witt Law Firm, P.C. offers personalized legal strategies tailored to meet your specific needs and objectives.

Expert Guidance: With a deep understanding of Illinois statutes on child support, the firm can provide you with expert guidance on calculating guideline child support and navigating any challenges that arise.

Advocacy and Support: The Witt Law Firm, P.C. is dedicated to advocating for your rights and ensuring that the best interests of your children are at the forefront of any legal proceedings.

Transparent Communication: Keeping you informed every step of the way, the firm prides itself on its commitment to transparent and clear communication, ensuring you understand the legal process and your options.

Take Action Today

If you’re facing child support issues in Illinois, don’t navigate this complex legal terrain alone. Call The Witt Law Firm, P.C. today at (312) 500-5400 to schedule a consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys is ready to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need to achieve a fair and just outcome for you and your children. Visit our website or call us to learn more about how we can assist you in your child support case.

Navigating child support in Illinois requires an understanding of the state’s guidelines and a strategic legal approach. By leveraging the expertise of The Witt Law Firm, P.C., you can ensure that your child support matters are handled professionally and with the utmost care for the well-being of your children. Take the first step towards securing your children’s future by reaching out to our legal experts today.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.