Illinois parents who are going through a divorce may use online child support calculators provided by the state to determine how much support a non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay. However, they should be aware that these calculators are not as reliable as they may think, and the actual child support amount ordered by a judge may be completely different from the estimate obtained from the calculator.

Using the monthly income of both parents, the amount of time each parent spends with the child and the amount of any benefits or credits parents may receive, child support calculators provide an estimate of monthly child support. Judges calculate child support using formulas determined by state laws and regulations and may have an assessment of the parents’ circumstances that differs from that of the parents

Some of the external issues that can affect how child support is determined can include tuition for private school, day care, emergency costs and other type of expenses. While the online calculator may not allow these factors to be incorporated in the estimate it provides, judges are able to take them into account. Existing child support payments can also be modified if there are significant changes in the circumstances of the parents or child.

Many parents try to come up with their own child support arrangement. However, the judge has the authority to change the plan if it is not in the best interests of the child or has one-sided terms. Accordingly, couples who wish to do so may want to have the help of their respective attorneys when putting one together.