You are legally obligated to provide for your children even when divorced. Usually, the non-custodial parent is supposed to pay child support to their co-parent to help meet child-related costs.
You can agree with your co-parent on the amount of child support. A judge will then review the agreement to determine if it’s fair before approving it. It then becomes like any other court-issued order.
Otherwise, state guidelines apply when calculating the amount of child support the paying parent is obligated to pay. However, there are overarching factors that apply across all cases, as discussed below.
Determining child support
The amount of child support varies, depending on the unique circumstances of your child’s needs and your financial capabilities. Some of the expenses include your child’s medical, insurance and education costs.
Calculating child support takes into account the number of children and both parents’ income. It is then adjusted if the paying parent is supporting other children or paying alimony. Other relevant factors could weigh in when arriving at the final figure. The Illinois Child Support Estimator can provide a ballpark figure of the amount of child support.
Child support payments are compulsory
You can’t pay child support payments at your convenience. You have to pay up as long as a court orders it. Should you default, the court can employ various enforcement tools like withholding part of your wages.
Importantly, child support payments are not supposed to be punitive. If substantial changes occur in your life, such as switching to a low-paying job, you can request the court to review its orders.
If you have child support issues as a paying or receiving parent, it is worthwhile to be aware of your legal options in resolving them. It’s all in the children’s best interests.