Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

Kane County Child Support Attorney


Lawyer for Enforcement, Modification and Calculation of Child Support in Sugar Grove, Aurora and the Fox Valley Area

Few issues evoke such emotional responses as child support. It is quite common for the parent ordered to pay child support to feel that he or she is paying too much in support and seeing the child too little; the parent receiving support may feel that the support he or she does receive from the other parent is not enough to provide for the child's needs. This can result in frequent, heated disputes.

Whether parents are in the process of setting child support for the first time or are seeking a modification of an existing order, an experienced Illinois family law attorney can help with understanding the process of determining a child support amount and advise on whether a court will modify an existing child support order.

How Is Child Support Initially Calculated?

Calculating an initial child support amount regularly occurs in most divorce, paternity, and/or custody cases. Prior to July 2017, Illinois calculated the child support obligation of a non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have the child living with him or her regularly) based on a percentage of that parent's net income. The net income is that parent's gross income less certain permissible deductions, like federal and state taxes. However, a revision to Illinois law went into effect on July 1, 2017 that redefined the method for calculating child support, shifting Illinois to an income-sharing model that takes both parents' incomes into consideration.

Under the new law, courts will determine a basic child support obligation for a couple's children using the combined net income of both parents. The amount of this obligation will be divided between the two parents based on each parent's percentage share of the combined income. Parents' amount of parenting time with their children may also require further calculations; if the children stay overnight with each parent at least 40% of the time each year (that is, 146 days or more), each parent's portion of the basic support obligation will be multiplied by the other parent's percentage of overnight stays with the children, and the smaller amount will be subtracted from the larger amount to determine the amount of child support that one parent will pay to the other.

What if a Child Support Award Does Not Adequately Provide for My Children?

In certain circumstances, the court is permitted to deviate from the presumed amount of child support and award a different amount. For instance, the presumed child support amount can be adjusted if:

  • The child enjoyed or would have enjoyed a higher standard of living but for the separation;
  • The child has ongoing medical, educational, mental, or other special needs;
  • The resources of both parents and the needs of the child suggest the amount should be higher or lower; or
  • Any special custody arrangement exists between the parents.

What if I Need to Modify the Child Support?

Either parent may ask the court to modify a previously-entered child support order by filing a petition with the court. While the amount of child support payments under Illinois' new child support law may be different from those in an existing child support order, the new law in itself is not a sufficient reason to modify an order. If one parent wishes to modify a child support order, they must show that there has been a material change of circumstance justifying the modification. Temporary changes such as a short-term illness are not likely to result in a modification; however, one parent's promotion or prolonged unemployment can be considered a material change of circumstance.

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