Q. Is a parent liable to help pay for things above and beyond child support such as a car at age 16 or extra curricular activities?
o How is child support calculated? The IMDMA addresses this in 750 ILCS 5/505. Gross income is the starting point. Gross income includes wages, overtime, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income. Deductions are allowed for income taxes, social security taxes, involuntary pension deductions, and prior order of support.
The statutory minimum guideline is:
1 Child -- 20%
2 Children -- 28%
3 Children -- 32%
4 Children -- 40%
5 Children -- 45%
6 or more Children -- 50%
Net Income Defined
How "Income" for child support is calculated is often not a "simple" thing." 750 ILCS 5/505 (3) defines "net income" as follows:
(3) "Net income" is defined as the total of all income from all sources, minus the following deductions:
(a) Federal income tax (properly calculated withholding or estimated payments);
(b) State income tax (properly calculated withholding or estimated payments);
(c) Social Security (FICA payments);
(d) Mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment;
(e) Union dues;
(f) Dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums;
(g) Prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order;
(h) Expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary to preserve life or health, reasonable expenditures for the benefit of the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts. The court shall reduce net income in determining the minimum amount of support to be ordered only for the period that such payments are due and shall enter an order containing provisions for its self executing modification upon termination of such payment period.
Case Law that you should be aware of in Illinois
While this may seem like "something simple" the recent case of In re the Marriage of Rogers, 345 Ill. App. 3d 77 First Dist. 2003 indicates otherwise. The husband received significant "loans" from a family business and the family law court determined that "loans" made to a non-custodial parent can be "income" for child support purposes.
Once a Child Support obligation is ordered, typically a wage deduction notice/order will be entered and sent to the employer of the person obligated to pay the child support. If the employer fails to pay that amount a $100 a day penalty can be ordered by the court against the employer. The Illinois Supreme Court in Marriage of Miller, 227 Ill. 2d 185 (Ill. S. Ct. 2007) stated that the penalty was reasonable and upheld a $1,172,100 penalty against the employer. That money is a civil penalty and the custodial parent can bring an action against the employer of the non-custodial parent who refuses to honor a withholding order.
Deviations and "extras"
. Illinois defines child support guidelines as "minimal guidelines". A Judge has the discretion to deviate either upward or downward from child support guidelines. Most of the time a judge will order extra payments for:
1) After school/Pre school and Daycare
2) Health Insurance and 1/2 of uncovered medical expenses
Illinois Supreme Court rules require both parents to file Affidavits of Income and expenses in divorce and parentage cases. A judge has the discretion to divide expenses like parochial school tuition or extra curricular expenses based upon the resources of the parties.
Some thoughts from a parent who is also a lawyer
Non custodial parents who are active in their children's lives are also more likely to be current in their child support. Numerous psychological studies show that both parents are needed by their children. Children develop mental images of themselves based upon their lives-including how their parents act.However, the statutory language is only the legal obligation to support our children. There is also the moral obligation. Some people cannot afford private school or cars for the children. Children really want time with their parents -- quality time.
Yes, they need both clothing and shelter but numerous studies have shown that kids who have both parents active in their lives grow up happier and healthier. Better able to handle the stresses of life and are more productive and happier in their own lives. The simple answer is that we as caring parents should provide the "extras" for our children. Some parents don't have the financial resources to provide everything that our kids might want (and in reality sometimes the best lesson we can teach our children is that everything in life is not f
About Linder Law Office and Kevin Linder
Linder Law Offices provides legal representation for the Rights of Disabled Individuals and concetrates in Family Law, Social Security, Bankruptcy and Tax Law.
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