When Can a Court Deviate from the Child Support Guidelines?

In a divorce of parents who have children who are still minors, the decision of what will happen regarding child support is sometimes made by a court.

Here in Illinois, there are statutory guidelines regarding child support. These guidelines give recommendations regarding what a non-custodial parent’s minimum child support obligation should be based on the number of children they have and what their net income is.

Generally, courts are to follow these guidelines in their child support decisions. However, there are circumstances under which courts are permitted to make deviations from the guidelines. A child’s emotional and physical condition, a child’s financial needs, a child’s educational needs, what standard of living a child is used to and the financial situations of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent are some of the things that sometimes lead a court to make a deviation.

Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a great many different things that can influence whether or not a court decides to deviate from the child support guidelines. Courts are generally allowed to make deviations any time that they find that the circumstances of a case make it so sticking to the guidelines would not, in light of the involved child’s best interests, be an appropriate decision.

Thus, while child support decisions may, at first glance, appear to be a largely mechanical process here in Illinois, they can actually be affected by a great many different factors.

Consequently, careful case preparation and development of one’s arguments can be very important for a parent who is going into child support proceedings. Family law attorneys can prove to be a valuable resource for parents when it comes to such preparations.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]