How Does Child Support Work?  

Child support telling the kids

 Child Support can seem complex and overwhelming.

When a couple divorces one aspect of the divorce is an understanding that all parents are expected to support their children emotionally and financially. The financial component means more than just paying for diapers and formula, but for a lifestyle for the children. All expenses are considered, including health insurance and medical expenses, school fees, costs for extra-curricular activities like dance lessons, swimming classes, daycare, summer camps and more.

To make child support as fair as possible, Illinois has adopted an Income Shares Model instead of straight percentage of someone’s net income.

How the Income Shares Model Works

There is a software program most divorce attorneys use for determining who pays child support and how much they pay. Certain factors are entered in and the Income Shares Model calculates child support based on the information provided.

Some factors that influence child support payments include:

  • Which parent will claim the children as dependents?
  • Which parent will claim head of the household?
  • How much parenting time does each parent spend with the children?
  • How many overnights do the children spend with each parent?

It is possible that the custodial/residential parent ends up paying child support to the other non-residential parent. For example, if the custodial parent’s annual income is $200,000 in contrast to the non-custodial parent who only earns $50,000, the higher earning parent will likely pay child support to the lower earning parent based on a formula which includes the amount of each parent’s overnights.

How Child Support is Paid and Collected

The most common way child support is paid is for the payor to make a direct deposit into the account of the payee. If the payor is not trustworthy, or there has been an issue with the payor not paying, the payment may go through the state disbursement unit. This means the wages of the payor are garnished, then sent to the payee. There are problems with this system, such as pay being late to the payee or a long time before payments start.

Other Considerations for the Payor

All those who pay child support need to:

  • Keep good records. If the payee complains to the court that the payor has not paid, the burden is on the payor to prove with documentation that the payments were made.
  • If there is a change in circumstances, such as a lost job, the payor should immediately petition the court for a modification of child support. Child support continues to accrue until the date of the petition filing. A parent could end up months in arrears and the court cannot provide relief. In fact, 9 percent interest is charged on back child support payments.

For more information about Illinois child support, contact us at the Law Office of Patrick Markey.

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