Defining Net Income in a Child Support Proceeding

net income, child support, DuPage County family law attorneyMost responsible parents understand the importance of continuing to provide financial support for their child or children after the marriage or relationship between the adults breaks down. Of course, court-issued orders for child support are based on more than the parents’ interpretation of what may or may not be sufficient for their child’s needs. That is why law provides a fairly straightforward to be applied in the calculation of child support awards for most situations.

Basic Calculations

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, in every proceeding for child support, the court must first utilize a statutory formula to establish the minimum recommended amount to be paid. The formula is based on the net income of the supporting parent and the number of children to be support, with the amount of support to equal:

  • 20 percent of the supporting parent’s net income for one child;
  • 28 percent to support two children;
  • 32 percent to support three children;
  • 40 percent to support four children;
  • 45 percent to support five children; and
  • 50 percent to support six children or more.

Whether the court decides to issue an order based on the calculation or not, it must still make the calculation and enter specific finding if it deviates from the results. Other factors, including the child’s needs for medical care, education, and extracurricular activities may also impact the amount of support ordered.

What is Net Income?

When looking at the law, the term “net income” seems to be a fairly important one and how it is defined can dramatically impact the results of the statutory calculations. The law does provide a definition, one that is at the heart of many child support disputes, as certain elements may be more subjective than the law intended. Specifically, net income is defined as a party’s total income from all sources minus certain reasonable expenses including:

  • Federal and state income taxes;
  • Social Security withholdings or payments;
  • Retirement contributions mandated by law or as a condition of employment;
  • Union membership dues;
  • Health insurance premiums;
  • Life insurance premiums for policies ordered by the court;
  • Previous obligations for child or spousal support;
  • Spousal support payable in the same dissolution proceeding;
  • Foster care payments made by the state for caring for a foster child; and
  • Expenses necessary to repay debts or reasonable expenditures for the continued generation of income, such as student loans, or those intended to directly benefit the child, not including gifts.

The last point is the among the common point of contention, as there is often dispute regarding what constitutes “reasonable” expenses.

For more information about the child support law in Illinois and how they may apply to your case, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today. We can help you get the answers you need in providing for your child’s best interests while protecting your rights throughout the process. Call [[phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation today.

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