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Understanding Income Calculations for Illinois Child Support Orders

 Posted on December 30, 2021 in Child Support

Bolingbrook Child Support LawyerChild support payments help unmarried and divorced parents share child-related costs. In Illinois, child support is usually calculated using the Income Shares formula. Each parent’s net income is factored into the formula so that the amount of child support is reasonably affordable and allows the child the same standard of living as he or she would experience if the parents were married. Unfortunately, calculating child support is not always this straightforward. Unusual income sources, unemployment, financial deception, and other issues can complicate child support calculations significantly.

What Counts as Income?

The amount of child support a parent pays is based on a carefully designed formula that uses each parent’s net income. Net income includes not only wages, but all other forms of income as well. Bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, income from rental properties, investment income, pensions, Social Security, inheritance, and even personal injury settlements or workers’ compensation awards may count as income. Net income excludes taxes and child support or spousal support orders from a previous relationship.  

What if a Parent Lies About Their Income?

Unfortunately, some parents are less than forthcoming about finances during a divorce or child support proceeding. If your spouse is not disclosing all income sources, contact a family law attorney for help. Child support payments should always be based on the most up-to-date, accurate financial information.

How Does Job Loss Affect Child Support?

There are a few different ways that Illinois courts handle parental unemployment or underemployment. When a parent is involuntarily unemployed, the court will be much more sympathetic to the parent’s predicament. The parent may be able to reduce his or her payments through a child support modification or pay a lower amount if he or she genuinely cannot afford payments due to a layoff or involuntary job loss. However, a parent who tries to avoid paying child support by quitting their job or intentionally taking a lower-paying job may see this strategy backfire. Illinois courts are authorized to use a parent’s imputed income or potential income to calculate child support. The potential income is based on the parent’s work history, job skills, assets, the current job market, and other factors. If the parent has never worked or has too little work history to calculate potential income, the parent’s income may be set at 75 percent of United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines for a one-person family.

Contact a Naperville Child Support Lawyer

The skilled Will County family law attorneys at Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. represent payers and recipients of child support. We can help you establish child support, modify your child support order, enforce a child support order when a parent fails to comply with the order, and more. Call 630-355-7776 for a free and confidential consultation.



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