If you’re dealing with child support issues in connection with divorce or paternity proceedings, you probably already know there are multiple factors that affect the amount. The Illinois statute on Property, Support and Attorney Fees (Section 505), lays out the calculation basics and authorizes relevant state agencies to establish rules regarding child support guidelines. In general, the determination depends upon the income of both parents and the amount of parenting time each is allocated; however – there are other specific requirements that may apply in certain situations.

One question that frequently arises is whether gifts and loans are considered income for child support purposes. There’s no simple “yes” or “no” answer, so it’s wise to work with a Chicago child support lawyer regarding the issue. An overview may also be informative.

Default Rules on Calculating Child Support

Both parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support to their child, though – in practice – the non-residential parent is usually the individual who will be paying. The statute provides that child support is calculated according to a formula, which works as follows:

  • The court considers each parent’s monthly net income;
  • The net incomes are combined;
  • The amount is applied to a statutory schedule regarding the combined monthly net income and the number of children the parties share; and,
  • From the statutory schedule, the judge calculates each parent’s percentage share of basic child support. 

Grounds to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines

The statute goes on to provide that the court is not obligated to apply the default guidelines if doing so would be inappropriate. A judge may depart from the above calculation if it serves the child’s best interest AND there is evidence of other relevant factors. The law itemizes the other considerations a judge may review, including the financial resources and needs of the parents. 

Gifts and Loans as Income

Though the statute assesses each parent’s income from all sources as part of the child support guidelines, a gift or loan generally isn’t included. As such, gifts and loans are typically not considered income for child support purposes. However, when one parent receives funds through such resources, the other parent could have a strong argument that the default child support rules should NOT apply or that the gifts should be included in recipient’s income.  Further, loans should be investigated to determine if they are legitimate or if they are actually a gift because there is no expectation of repayment.  If you’re in this position, you’d have to convince the judge the guidelines would be inappropriate. You must prove:

  1. The child’s best interests are not served by using the general guidelines, since he/she should be a beneficiary of the other parent’s gift or loan funds.
  2. The financial resources of the other parent are significant and should be taken into consideration when entering an order on child support.

Get Legal Help from a Chicago Child Support Attorney

For more information on gifts, loans and other factors that may affect your income for purposes of child support or the amount of support you are entitled to receive, please contact Michael C. Craven. We’re happy to provide details once we review your circumstances at a confidential consultation. You can schedule your appointment at our Chicago office by calling (312) 621-5234 or checking out our website.