Issue: Under Illinois law, what guidance is provided for a district court by the law when determining child support obligations between parties that have never been married?
Area of Law:
; Child Support; Parentage Act; Marriage Act
The Parentage Act ([statref]750 ILCS 45/1 et seq. (West 2014) [/statref]) governs the rights and duties of parents who have never married each other. The Parentage Act declares that "Illinois recognizes the right of every child to the physical, mental, emotional and monetary support of his or her parents" ([statref]750 ILCS 45/1.1 (West 2014) [/statref]), and that "[t]he parent and child relationship, including support obligations, extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents" ([statref]750 ILCS 45/3 (West 2014) [/statref]). Section 14 of the Parentage Act permits a trial court to enter judgments that determine which parent shall have custody of a child, establish visitation or parenting time schedules, and determine child support obligations. [statref]750 ILCS 45/14(a)(1) (West 2014) [/statref]. With reference to child support determinations in parentage cases, section [statref]14(a)(1) [/statref] provides, in pertinent part:
"Specifically, in determining the amount of any child support award or child health insurance coverage, the court shall use the guidelines and standards set forth in subsection (a) of Section 505 of the Marriage Act [750 ILCS 5/505 (West 2014)]. For purposes of Section 505 of the Marriage Act, ‘net income’ of the noncustodial parent shall include any benefits available to that person under the Illinois Public Aid Code or from other federal, State or local government-funded programs. The court shall, in any event and regardless of the amount of the non-custodial parent’s net income, in its judgment order the non-custodial parent […]