Illinois child support and extracurricular activities

Even though your marriage did not succeed, you always put the interests of your children first. If you are going through a divorce, you likely want to be certain your kids continue to have the financial resources they need to thrive. You should not, however, pay more than your fair share in child support. 

When planning your financial future, you must understand how Illinois law treats child support. As you may have heard, the state uses income shares guidelines to determine how much each parent owes. There are some instances, though, that may require you to pay less or more. 

The income shares formula 

On July 1, 2017, Illinois switched to an income shares model for calculating child support. To determine how much you must pay, the court uses a formula that works like this: 

  •         First, the court combines the income of both parents and counts the number of children who require support.
  •         Next, the court consults a table to calculate the cost of raising the child or children to determine the basic support obligation.
  •         Finally, the court assigns each parent a share of the support obligation proportionally based on his or her income. 

Extracurricular activities 

As your child ages, he or she is likely to express interest in extracurricular activities. Whether your son or daughter loves to dance, sing, play ball or act, outside activities may help your young one grow into a well-adjusted adult. Still, extracurricular functions can be expensive. In Illinois, judges may choose to deviate from the income shares guidelines to require one or both parents to pay extracurricular costs. 

Other expenses 

Extracurricular activities are not the only place judges may exercise discretion. If your child has extraordinary medical, educational or childcare needs, you may have to pay more in child support than the income shares model suggests. As such, you likely must do a comprehensive analysis of your finances, your ex-spouse’s finances and the law to understand how much you must pay to support your child. 

By understanding the income shares approach to calculating child support, you can better plan for managing your finances. Still, you should realize that extracurricular activities and other expenses may affect how much you owe. 

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