Child Support Rights in Illinois


Most parents understand that supporting a child financially is the most basic obligation of parenthood. Even parents in Chicago who have limited contact with their children still have an obligation to provide a portion of the money necessary to buy food, clothing and other necessities for them. While the calculation of child support is supposed to be straightforward, it can become more complicated when parents abuse the process by hiding income or otherwise deceiving the court. Moreover, special circumstances may warrant special consideration.

Our attorneys at Downs Law Offices have more than 50 years of combined experience helping clients deal with complex child support matters. Our child support attorneys understand how the guidelines work and when deviations are warranted, and we can help you get a support order that is fair under the circumstances.


The availability of child support depends on the child custody arrangement. Generally, a parent who has sole custody or more than 50 percent joint custody can get child support from the other parent. Cases where the alleged father is also the obligor - the person paying support - may require a showing of paternity. In divorce cases, paternity is usually presumed if the child was born during the marriage or within a certain period beforehand. Otherwise, it may be necessary to present evidence of paternity or undergo genetic testing.


In most cases, child support in Illinois is based on statutory guidelines. The state uses a model based on percentage of obligor income, meaning the obligor parent is required to pay a fixed percentage of his or her net income:

  • One child - 20 percent
  • Two children - 28 percent
  • Three children - 32 percent
  • Four children - 40 percent
  • Five children - 45 percent
  • Six or more children - 50 percent

While these guidelines hold sway in the majority of cases, in certain circumstances the court may deviate either upward or downward. However, there is a strong presumption that the guidelines are reasonable, and getting a deviation in your favor requires an Illinois child support attorney to present a compelling case on your behalf.


Child support modifications can take place upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, most often a large increase or decrease in the income of either parent. However, a substantial change in the child's needs or a disability or illness of one of the parents may also justify a modification. The same rules that apply to original child support proceedings apply to a modification. There is a presumption in favor of the guidelines, but either parent can ask for a deviation.

Despite the fact that it is designed to be simple, the child support process in Illinois can often become complex. Nevertheless, you can count on our Chicago attorneys at Downs Law Offices to provide the support and guidance you need, including identifying hidden assets and income, and advocating for deviation from the guidelines when appropriate.

Strong guidance through the child support process

Call our office today at 312-781-1963 or contact us online to schedule a consultation about your child support issues with one of our experienced attorneys at Downs Law Offices. Our regular weekday hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we offer evening and weekend appointments by special arrangement.