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Divorce Calculating Your Child Support Obligations

Updated on May 4, 2017

What is income?


  • Investopedia defines income as money that an individual or business receives in exchange of good or service or through investing capital.
  • Merriam-Webster defines income as a gain or recurrent benefit usually measured in money that derives from capital or labor.
  • defines income as the monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, as rents or investments.

Gross Income

  • Investopedia - An individual's total personal income, before accounting for taxes or deductions.
  • Meridian Dictionary - All income derived from any source except for items specifically excluded by law.
  • - Total revenue received before any deductions or allowances, as for rent, cost of goods sold, taxes, etc.

Net Income

  • Investopedia - Net income (NI) is a company's total earnings (or profit); net income is calculated by taking revenues and subtracting the costs of doing business such as depreciation, interest, taxes and other expenses. This number appears on a company's income statement and is an important measure of how profitable the company is over a period of time. Net income also refers to an individual's income after taking taxes and deductions into account.
  • Meridian Dictionary - The balance of gross income remaining after all allowable deductions and exemptions are taken
  • - The excess of revenues and gains of a business over expenses and losses during a given period of time.

Other income is all other sources of income not contained in your employer gross amount including, but not limited to: interest and dividends, capital gains, rental income, royalty income, retirement income, trust income, disability income or workers compensation, gambling and lottery winnings, business or partnership income.

Calculating Child Support suggested Obligation

For the purpose of this article, we will consider only concentrating our calculations on income from an employer as received for labor/services rendered. As well, we will only concentrate our calculations on Child Support obligations according to Illinois requirements. Each state may have other methods or ways in calculating the Child Support obligations and take consideration parenting time as well. For purpose of this article, we will concentrate in Income from employer, taking into account Federal/State taxes and Health Care requirements.

The below matrix reflects percentage of child support obligation by Non-Custodial Parent for state of Illinois.

Statutory Guidelines of Child Support

Number of Children
Percent of Non-Custodial Parent's Net Income
6 or more


Calculating the amount of child support is based on the overall Net-Income minus any Health Care costs minus any other previous child support obligations multiplied by the percent of non-custodial Parent's Net income obligation depending on Number of Children.

For example if you have 2 children...

  • Net Income = Gross Income - Federal Taxes, State Taxes, Union Dues
  • Child Support Obligation = Net Income * 28%

The below chart is a mere example on what the obligation would be if you were to calculate yourself. Again, this is a mere example on how to calculate child support in Illinois. There are other factors that may come into play and if there were previous legal obligations that were agreed upon, that would supersede any calculation. However, this basically shows how to calculate to make sure you are providing your obligation.

Gross Monthly Income
Taxes Monthly
Net Income Monthly
Health Cost Monthly
20% Total Obligation
28% Total Obligation
32% Total Obligation
40% Total Obligation
45% Total Obligation
50% Total Obligation

Helpful Child Support Calculator for Illinois

The following URL has proven to be most useful in calculating the child support obligation. Keep in mind that the requirements for Child Support change and it is best to consult an attorney if you need assistance in determining your obligation.

Calculator can be found at:


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