Practical Considerations for Calculating Income for Child Support

During a divorce and/or child support proceeding, the parties often crunch (and re-crunch) numbers to try and predict what their support obligations could be or what they could be entitled to per law. The payor will take the net pay reflected in his/her paycheck and assume that that would be the only income that will be taken into consideration.


Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution f Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides that all income from all sources shall be considered in the calculation of support. All income includes, but is not limited to, rental income, stock dividends, business income, cash tips, side jobs, part-time jobs, etc. The problem with a lot of these sources of income is that it is not a stable source of income, such as a side-job that you may or may be scheduled for next month. However, it is income and should be included as part of support. One way to get around this issue is to incorporate a percentage clause in which the payor shall be responsible for a certain percentage of any income he/she receives from these sources. The con to this approach is that you are relying on the payor to come forth with the additional income. However, if both parties are to exchange 1099’s and tax returns each year, the additional income should be listed on there.


The other income most people do not take into consideration is rent. Rental income is taxable income and is, as a general rule of thumb, considered income for child support and maintenance purposes. Many have argued that rental income should not count since if it is used to pay off the mortgage in the property. However, many judges continue to count the rent as income and it should always be disclosed to the judge.


Another source of income that can be used for support purposes is retirement/social security income that was not already considered in as part of a property settlement. For example, if you or your spouse is receiving retirement benefits that is non-marital and subject to division in your divorce, it should still be included as income for any support/maintenance.


In all, it is important to disclose all of your income in your financial affidavit to avoid any sanctions. It is then up to your attorney and the judge to determine whether that extra income will be included as part of the equation in calculating maintenance and/or child support.

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