A DuPage Court recently ordered the custodial father to pay child support in the amount of $4,000 to the non-custodial mother. The father earned approximately $39,000 a year, although the Judge believed he received several monetary add-ons and had $5 million in assets. The mother earned $15 an hour for about 30-35 hours a week, held no assets except for a car, and had a total budgetary need of about $6,500 a month. The father had been previously ordered to pay $5,000 in child support to the mother before custody had been decided. On July 30, 2014, the father was awarded sole custody. The question became whether, pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act, a custodial parent could be ordered to pay child support to the non-custodial parent.
The Court analyzed another recent case, In re Marriage of Turk, 12 N.E.3d 40 (Ill. 2014), whereby the custodial parent was ordered to pay child support to the non-custodial parent. The custodial father in that case earned a substantial amount of income while the non-custodial mother was unemployed. The court in that case held that the mother needed child support in order to support the children during visitation.
However, the Turk case involved a dissolution of marriage case, and not a paternity case. As such, the question became whether the same rationale would apply under the Illinois Parentage Act.
The mother argued that Illinois recognized the right of every child to the physical, mental, emotional, and monetary support of his or her parents under the Illinois Paternity Act, and that it was clear that the legislative intent of the Paternity Act was to give children of unmarried parents identical rights of support as to that of children in marriages.
The father argued that only section 505(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was actually incorporated into the Paternity Act. As a result, unlike the Dissolution Act, the Paternity Act did in fact single out non-custodial parents as the exclusive “payors” of child support, whereas there were conflicting provisions in the Dissolution Act. The father also argued that ordering a custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent, where the two unwed parents never discussed and agreed on a lifestyle for the child, was tantamount to maintenance. The father also argued that the decision was gender-biased in that there was no case law regarding custodial mothers in paternity cases paying child support to the non-custodial father.
In the end, the The DuPage Court held that it was the intent of the statute and case law that the same factors set forth in section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act as incorporated into the Illinois Parentage Act, be applied in parentage cases and included a custodial parents financial obligation to contribute to noncustodial parents. The Judge then ordered the custodial father to pay the non-custodial mother $4,000 in child support.