Child support payments are payments made to a parent for the purposes of assisting that parent with the expense of raising the couple’s children. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has specific guidelines for child support and its payment. In Illinois, child support is based on numerous factors, including the number of children of the marriage, each party’s net income and assets, and the needs of the children. However, there are numerous instances where an application of the formula would provide for support payments beyond or below what a child needs.
Child support typically lasts until the minor child graduates from high school or turns nineteen, whichever occurs last. Child support is always subject to modification and can be increased or decreased depending on a substantial change in circumstances.
In many instances, failure to pay child support may result in a finding of contempt, with the possibility of a jail sentence. If a current child support order is beyond the payor’s means, he or she should consult with a divorce attorney and seek to modify the child support order. The child support order will not be modified by itself and insufficient income will not necessarily excuse failure to adhere to a court order.