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Joliet Child Support LawyerIllinois courts consider child support to be the child's right. Every child deserves to have financial support from his or her parents, even if the parents are unmarried or divorced. When an official child support order is issued, the parent is required to pay the full amount, on time. Chronic failure to pay child support can lead to significant consequences.

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support

It is important to note that this blog discusses official child support orders, not handshake agreements between the parents. If a parent is not complying with a child support order, he or she can face a range of adverse consequences, including:

  • Debt collection through a collection agency


Markham Child Support LawyerMassive layoffs at companies like Twitter and Meta have been making headlines across the country recently. Being laid off from your job can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty, especially if you have children. Simultaneously, in what has been called "The Great Resignation," people are leaving jobs at an unusually high rate. If you or your child's other parent is unemployed, you may wonder how this will influence your child support order. The answer to this question depends on several different factors.

Child Support Calculations in Illinois

In Illinois, child support payments are determined through a calculation process called the Income Shares method. The two parents' net incomes are added together and then this combined income is used to determine the total amount of financial support the child or children will require. This support obligation is divided between the parents based on their percentage of the combined income. For example, a parent whose income accounts for 30 percent of the combined income would be responsible for paying for 30 percent of the support obligation. The parent with the majority of the parenting time provides his or her share of support by providing for the child's needs. The other parent, the "obligor," provides his or her share through child support payments.

Child Support When a Parent's Income is Zero

If a parent has no job, he or she has no income. The court may handle this situation in a few different ways. If a parent is laid off from work due to no fault of his or her own and makes good-faith attempts to regain employment, the court may grant a modification to reduce the parent’s child support obligation.


IL family lawyerIn cases where married parents get divorced or an unmarried couple with children is no longer together, child support is often necessary to ensure that the couple’s children will have the necessary financial resources. Determining how to calculate child support can sometimes be a complex process, and if either parent has children from another relationship, the parents may be unsure about how this will factor into the calculations. By understanding how Illinois law addresses these situations, parents can make sure child support orders will provide for their children’s needs while ensuring that they will be able to support themselves.

Child Support and Multi-Family Adjustments

Since 2017, Illinois has used what is known as an “income shares” method to calculate child support obligations. Under this method, the income earned by both parents is added together, and a “basic child support obligation” is determined based on their combined income and the number of children they share. The basic obligation is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s “percentage share” of their combined income. That is, if one parent earns 65 of the combined income, they will be responsible for 65 percent of the basic child support obligation. The parent who does not have primary physical custody of the couple’s children will typically pay their portion of the child support obligation to the parent who has the majority of the parenting time.

If either parent has children from a previous relationship, a “multi-family adjustment” will be made to their income prior to calculating the basic child support obligation, and the amount of child support they pay for other children will be deducted from their income. This amount may vary based on whether they have an existing child support order. If there is a current child support order in place, the multi-family adjustment will be the amount that is actually paid under this order. If there is no child support order in place, the multi-family adjustment will be the amount of child support that a person actually pays or 75 percent of what they would be required to pay if their child support obligations were calculated under the current guidelines in Illinois law. In some cases, a family court judge may choose not to perform a multi-family adjustment if they find that this would cause financial hardship for the child.


IL family lawyerWhether you are an unmarried parent or one that will soon be divorced, you may have several questions about child support. Illinois law requires both of a child’s parents to contribute to the child’s financial needs. Most commonly, this is accomplished by the parent with less parenting time paying child support to the parent with greater parenting time. Of course, child support is not always as straightforward as it seems.

How Much Child Support Does a Parent Pay?

The amount a parent pays in child support varies from case to case and is typically calculated using a set formula. The most influential factor in Illinois child support payments is the difference between the parents’ net incomes. The greater the difference between their respective incomes, the greater the paying parent’s contribution.

Does Child Support Decrease if Parents Have Equal Parenting Time?

You may wonder if a parent has to pay as much in child support if they are responsible for a significant portion of the parenting time (formerly called visitation). When both parents have 40 percent or more of the parenting time, meaning 146 overnights or more a year, this is called a “shared parenting” child custody arrangement. Child support may be decreased proportionally.


Will County family law attorneyChild support is a crucial resource for divorced and unmarried parents. However, meeting your child support obligation can be extremely difficult when you have no source of income. If you or your child’s other parent was fired, laid off, or quit his or her job, you may wonder how this will affect child support. Do unemployed and underemployed parents still have to pay child support? What happens if a parent voluntarily quits his or her job?

Child Support Calculations When a Parent is Unemployed

The amount that a parent pays in child support in Illinois is based on the “income shares” model. Both parents’ net incomes are used to determine an appropriate child support obligation. When one parent has no income, this obviously affects child support calculations considerably. However, the reason that a parent is unemployed also factors heavily into the situation.

Involuntary Unemployment

If a parent was laid off or terminated and makes honest attempts to regain suitable employment, the court will likely look much more favorably on his or her situation. The unemployed parent may be granted relief through a lower child support payment amount. However, unemployed parents cannot simply stop making payments or pay a lower amount on their own. They will need to seek an official modification of their child support order to lower their child support obligation. Failure to follow the proper procedure to modify child support can result in penalties for nonpayment.

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