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Gifts and Loans: Income in Child Support Cases

 Posted on September 22, 2016 in Child Support

Naperville family law attorneyIllinois law sets forth specific guidelines for calculating child support obligations following a divorce. Under these guidelines, a child support award is based on a percentage of a non-custodial parent’s “net income” and the number of children for whom he or she is responsible. Unless the court makes specific findings that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate under the circumstances of a particular case, based on the best interest of the child, the court must utilize the guidelines in ordering child support.

Defining Net Income

Illinois law defines a parent’s net income as all income from all sources, minus various deductions. These deductions include federal and state income taxes, Social Security, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, insurance premiums, other support or maintenance obligations, and other reasonable and necessary expenses. One type of income, however, that has been difficult for Illinois courts to interpret, is gifts and substantial loans to a parent from his or her family members. For instance, according to a parent’s paycheck stubs and income tax returns, a spouse may have very little net income. However, if the parent is the recipient of thousands of dollars from his parents or other relatives, then the parent may very well have a larger net income than it initially appears.

Illinois Law Includes Gifts and Loans as a Parent’s Net Income

The question of whether gifts and loans should be included in a parent’s net income for the purposes of calculating child support has been squarely addressed by the Illinois Supreme Court. In a case entitled In re the Marriage of Rogers, 820 N.E.2d 386, 213 Ill. 2d 129 (Ill. 2004), the court ruled that nonrecurring income, such as gifts and loans, should not be deducted from a parent’s net income that is used to determine that parent’s child support obligation. The mere fact that loans or gifts are not reliable sources of income that will definitely reoccur in the future was of no consequence to the court, as parents routinely lose jobs, get demoted, and fail in business endeavors. The reality is that there is no 100 percent dependable source of income, no matter the source. Nonetheless, the court left open the possibility that loans, in some circumstances, might not be includible as a parent’s net income. Accordingly, in a later case, the Illinois appellate court found that mortgage loan proceeds should not be included in a parent’s income for the purposes of calculating child support.

Call Your Illinois Child Support Lawyer Today

Pesce Law Group, P.C., is devoted to helping you get through your divorce or paternity case, including any child support issues that your case may involve. Child support is one of the many emotional and difficult issues that a family law case can involve, and our team knows how to help you handle this stressful time in your life. Let us handle your legal issues and work with you to resolve all of the outstanding issues in your case to your satisfaction. We are devoted to representing your interests, no matter what your circumstances may be. Let your experienced Naperville family law attorney handle these difficult issues, while you focus on the future of your family.


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