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What to expect if you face pay child support

Too many moms and dads see a child support obligation as a parenting penalty. They think that the courts are out to get them, or that the receiving parent is getting a reward for being a better parent. 

But the fact is that calculating child support is a fairly straightforward, mathematical process. Payments take into account specific factors, not perceived wrongs you might have committed in the past, and they are not intended as a means of punishing you. For instance, in order to calculate child support payments, the courts will consider the following factors:

  • Your net income, which includes money earned from all sources
  • The financial resources and needs of the other parent
  • The number of children for whom you are responsible
  • The standard of living the child may have previously enjoyed while you were married
  • Needs of the child, including educational and medical needs

Based on these elements, the courts will calculate an amount that represents a percentage of your income. There are guidelines in place to determine this, though the courts may increase or decrease the amount if the above-mentioned factors make an adjustment appropriate.

Basically, this means that there is a standard process in place for calculating child support in Illinois; the process is not arbitrary. However, this doesn't mean you should leave yourself exposed to wrongful calculations or overlooked circumstances. Having an attorney by your side throughout the process of calculating child support can be critical in ensuring the agreement is appropriate an accurately reflects your financial capabilities.

Remember, child support is an obligation ordered to ensure both parents are contributing to the well-being of a child, and to make sure the child's needs are met. As a parent, you have the right to make sure these orders are fair and enforced properly.

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