Every state calculates child support differently. In Illinois, child support can be estimated with the state’s Child Support Estimator, which is designed to give people an idea of how much child support is necessary following a divorce or separation.
It’s important to keep in mind that the estimator’s results won’t necessarily be the final results in court, which is why it’s a good idea to know your rights and the laws that apply to your case. If you plan to mediate or arbitrate, the outcome could vary as well.
Understanding the factors used in the Illinois Child Support Estimator
The Illinois Child Support Estimator uses several factors to determine the child support that should be paid in a divorce case. These factors may include:
- How many children need support
- Which parent has the majority of the parenting time
- How many overnight stays will be spent with a parent annually
- Each parent’s gross or net income
- Whether or not spousal maintenance is being paid
- Whether or not any of your children receive Social Security Dependent Benefits
- If child support is already being paid to other individuals
- Who is providing health care coverage for the child(ren)
- Who is paying for child care expenses
- Who is paying for extraordinary expenses
These and other questions will help determine how much child support should be paid each month.
Can you negotiate child support with your spouse privately?
It is also possible for you and your spouse to come up with your own agreement and to ask the court to approve it.
Usually, that agreement will need to be similar to the amounts that would come up on the estimator, but not necessarily. This is why it’s important to know the laws and how you can negotiate child support with the other parent.
What happens if a parent can’t pay for support?
Child support should be paid based on your ability to pay. If you or your ex-spouse cannot afford the payment, then there may be a reason to seek a child custody modification or other legal solutions to help you support your child while still being able to survive financially.