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Child support in high income cases

Relatives recently, Illinois joined the majority of other states by adopting support Guidelines based on an income shares model of figuring child support.

In plain English, this means that in order to calculate child support, the court considers the incomes of both parents. After taking applicable deductions to get net income, the court uses a formula, or a chart, to determine the amount of overall support that corresponds with the combined income of the parents. The court then apportions the support responsibility according to each parent's share of that income.

The parent who does not have parental responsibilities day-to-day will ordinarily pay his or her share of support in cash to the other parent, who is, presumably, meeting his or her support obligation by maintaining the children's household and providing for their needs directly.

However, the Guidelines account for income up to a certain amount, that is, about $30,000 a month, or $360,000 a year. While for many Peoria families this may seem like a fortune, putting it in to context, a husband and wife who are both successful physicians or who own a prosperous business could make income in excess of this amount.

In such cases, while the Guidelines provide that the court must at least order support in the amount called for by the highest income listed, the court does have some discretion as to whether or not to order additional child support.

In this respect, the person paying the child support may argue that the amounts called for in the Guidelines are plenty to provide for his or her children's needs and a lot of their wants, while the other parent may argue that, in fairness, the support obligation should reflect actual income. In other words, a parent should not get out of paying child support simply because he or she earns a lot.

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