Child Support in Illinois: reduced below guidelines

Just the other day, I was successful in obtaining a deviation from child support guidelines for my client. As a child support attorney in Chicago and Illinois, I was happy that I could help my client obtain a court order that lowered his child support payment BELOW statutory guidelines. If you need help with child support, contact me, Chicago divorce and Illinois child support lawyer David Wolkowitz – I might be able to help.

My work resulted in my client’s child support payment being lowered by almost 40 percent.

How did I accomplish that?  Let me walk you through the steps.

Was current Illinois child support payment is appropriate?

Previously, I wrote an article entitled “Illinois child support: the basics. That article explained that in Illinois, pursuant to Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “IMDMA”) (750 ILCS 5/505), child support is normally a certain pre-determined percentage of the payor’s net income.  Where there is one child, the statute sets the percentage of one’s net income to be paid as support at 20%.

When the child support payor’s income drops, so does the child support payment (in most cases).

My client’s income dropped by about 40 percent, due to retirement and disability. So right off the bat I knew he was entitled to an approximate 40 percent decrease in his child support payment.

What’s going on with the finances?

I was almost certain my client was entitled to some reduction in child support because the decrease in his net income. However,  I also suspected he might also be entitled to a deviation below the child support guidelines. In other words, though the statute suggested he pay 20% of his net income towards Illinois child support, I though he might be able to pay a lower percentage. But to determine if that might be possible, I had to analyze his finances.

I learned that while his expenses were increasing due to the cost of healthcare and medication, his income was artificially inflated in an non-sustainable manner. Further, because his savings were low, his debt was high, and earning potential severely limited, the chances of him greatly improving his financial position was very low.

What’s the strategy for a downward deviation in child support?

I planned a three-pronged approach to lower my client’s child support payments. First, I sought to demonstrate to the court that due to the mother’s income, the child would be well-supported even if the father paid less support. Second, I wanted to demonstrate that because of my client’s healthcare expense situation, it was critical that he be able to save more money – since healthcare costs could spike so easily. Lastly, I wanted to show that his income had an artificial and temporary increase that was unsustainable, thereby compounding his critical need to use his income for his own care.

When it was all said and done, my client’s monthly child support payment was reduced from $800 to $490.

People should support their children. But sometimes, a person may be in a dire position, and thereby have reason to pay less child support.

If you have questions about child support in Illinois – whether you want to increase, decrease, or simply collect what is owed, you can contact me, Chicago divorce and Illinois child support lawyer David Wolkowitz.

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).