Tomasz and Dawn had three children. The mother kept sole custody of the parties’ children and Tomasz was required to pay $1,280.00 in monthly child support. Tomasz made less money than Dawn did however, and after he paid his 32% in child support, Dawn had a lot more money then he did. Dawn sought to have Tomasz contribute for other children’s expenses as well, including contributions to the children’s day care expenses and their extracurricular activities. The trial court ruled that Tomasz had to contribute an additional 40% of those expenses, which was an additional $741.00 per month. Tomasz asked the trial court to reconsider that ruling, and argued that he only had $2,465.00 at the end of the month by the time he paid his child support, and Dawn had $4,392.00 monthly net income. You can read more about his case at 2013 IL App (3d) 120731.
The trial court did review its judgment, and agreed to lower Tomasz’s contribution to day care and to the children’s extracurricular activities. The court lowered it to 20% of the total of those two expenses, and required him to pay that in addition to the child support.
We are often asked if a parent has to contribute more than the “guideline” child support amount, and what exactly is covered in their child support payment. Child support is typically used to pay for the child’s clothing, shelter and food expenses. The custodial parent is able to come forward with the proper petition, and seek more money than the guideline amount for children’s extracurricular activities and day care expenses. And yes, you can be required to pay more than guideline child support.
The amount of the award of child support is within the discretion of the trial court however, and the reviewing court will not disturb the trial court’s ruling, absent an abuse of discretion. It is well established that “[s]ection 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act creates a rebuttable presumption that the specified percentage of a noncustodial parent’s income represents an appropriate child support award.” In re Marriage of Demattia, 302 Ill. App. 3d 390, 393 (1999) (citing In re Marriage of Charles, 284 Ill. App. 3d 339, 346-47 (1996)). In this case, the judgment of dissolution set the child support by agreement and in the amount specified by statute for three children, specifically 32% of father’s net income.
in addition to the statutory child support amount under section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 40, ¶ 505 (now 750 ILCS 5/505 (West 2010)), the trial court has discretion to also order the noncustodial parent to pay half of the daycare expenses and other reasonable expenses. Serna, 172 Ill. App. 3d at 1054.
However, the court concluded that any amount above the agreed 32% of father’s net income, or $1,280 per month, represents an upward deviation from the statutory amount that must be supported by the record. See Demattia, 302 Ill. App. 3d at 394. In this case, mother reported the cost for daycare and the extracurricular activities of the children totaled $1,854 per month, which actually exceeded the full amount of child support being paid by father. Based on the record, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the father should pay 20% of the children’s day care expenses and their extra curricular activities.