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Is my Workers’ Compensation considered income?

Categorized as Child Support

As part of the court’s determination of net income for purposes of setting an award for child support, the court, under 750 ILCS 5/505(a)(3), considers unemployment compensation as well as workers’ compensation awards within the scope of the statutory definition of “net income.”

In In re Marriage of Dodds, 222 Ill.App.3d 99, 583 N.E.2d 608, 610, 164 Ill.Dec. 692 (2d Dist. 1991), the court found that a postjudgment (and hence nonmarital), lump-sum settlement, workers’ compensation award that the father received was net income available to be apportioned for child support within the meaning of IMDMA §505(a)(3). Dodds also involved a discussion of, but no ruling on, social security benefits in the context of child support. Given the ruling in In re Marriage of Truhlar, 404Ill.App.3d 176, 935 N.E.2d 1199, 343 Ill.Dec. 971(2d Dist. 2010), it is arguable that an obligor parent’s social security disability benefits may now qualify as income available for support
Courts have also allowed support to be ordered paid from a workers’ compensation award, noting, however, that the final award, which remained speculative at the time of the hearing, had properly not been included in the calculation as “too speculative.” The court in In re Marriage of Brand, 123 Ill.App.3d 1047, 463 N.E.2d 1037, 1040, 79 Ill.Dec. 483 (4th Dist. 1984), stated:
[W]e are satisfied the legislature intended that a recipient use compensation benefits for the current expenses of the worker’s family, and this is all the [trial] court was ordering him to do [in assessing child supportfrom the award].
See also In re Marriage of Hobson, 220 Ill.App.3d 1006, 581 N.E.2d 388, 163 Ill.Dec. 437 (4th Dist. 1991), which found that the evidence supported establishing a trust fund for child support out of the father’s share of certain equity property as well as income from an award received in a workers’ compensation settlement. An allowance paid to the obligor spouse by reason of his employment as an active member of the United States armed forces was includible in his income for purposes of calculating support under IMDMA §505. In re Marriage of McGowan, 265 Ill.App.3d 976, 638 N.E.2d 695, 698, 202 Ill.Dec. 827 (1st Dist. 1994). McGowan reasoned that the term “net income” in §505(a)(3) is an all-inclusive term that must be given effect to include military allowances in the computation of child support.

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