Calculating Your Income for Child Support Purposes

When you are the parent who is responsible for making child support payments, the existing Illinois system for calculating your obligation is based on your net income. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you will be expected to pay a certain percentage of your income depending on how many children are being supported, beginning with 20 percent for one child up to 50 percent for six or more children.

A recent post on this blog recently discussed how the method for calculating child support payments in Illinois will be changing. There is one element, however, that will remain the same. The law provides a definition for “net income” to be used in child support calculations under the current law as well as under the new law that takes effect next summer.

What Is Net Income?

The IMDMA specifies that a person’s net income is “the total of all income from all sources” minus certain allowable deductions. Such deductions include:

  • Federal, state, and social security taxes;
  • Mandatory retirement contributions;
  • Union dues;
  • Medical insurance premiums;
  • Other obligations for child or spousal support; and
  • Reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, such as student loans, licensing fees, and training costs.

While the last bullet point is often a point of contention in child support proceedings, the allowable deductions are fairly straightforward. It may come as a surprise to learn, however, that the “income” as used in the law may mean much more than a party’s paycheck.

Other Sources of Income

When the law says, “all income from all sources,” that is exactly what it means. Case law in Illinois has made it clear that even non-earned and non-recurring income should be included when considering a child support obligation. Specific examples of other forms of income that courts have counted in child support considerations include:

  • Workers compensation and personal injury awards;
  • Gifts made to the supporting parent;
  • Allowances for off-base housing for military members;
  • Performance-based bonuses; and
  • Proceeds from exercising stock options.

The rationale behind including such revenue sources as income is that they contribute to the paying parent’s current economic situation, even if they will not continue to do so in the future. If and when the money from these sources is no longer available, the paying parent would need to seek a modification of his or her child support order to reflect his or her new situation.

Child Support Questions?

If you being asked to pay child support and are unsure of how the law will apply to your case, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation at any one of the three convenient locations of Kezy & Associates today.