Child support used to be calculated solely based on the obligor’s net income and the number of children being supported. For example, a parent supporting one child paid 20 percent of his or her income in child support and a parent with two children put 28 percent of his or her income toward child support. However, Illinois has since modernized the child support calculation method to include the income of the both parents.
Typically, a parent’s actual income is used to calculate child support. However, there are situations in which the court may use a parent’s “imputed income” to determine the child support obligation.
What is Imputed Income?
The majority of child support orders are calculated using the parents’ actual income. The amount that a parent pays is based on his or her share of the parents’ combined income. If one parent makes $30,000 a year and the other parent makes $70,000 a year, the parents have an annual combined income of $100,000. The parent who makes $30,000 would be responsible for 30 percent of the basic support obligation. However, if the court feels that a parent is intentionally earning less than he or she is capable of earning, the court may use the parent’s imputed income instead of his or her actual income.
Imputed income is the estimated income a parent could make. The court attributes that income to the parent even if he or she does not actually earn that amount of money. Imputed income is based on the parent’s employability, education, job skills, and past work history.
When is Imputed Income Used to Determine Child Support?
Illinois courts use imputed income if there is reason to believe that a spouse is voluntarily earning less than he or she could be earning. The court may impute income if a parent:
Quits his or her job voluntarily and makes little effort to regain employment
Intentionally takes a low-paying job to lower his or her child support obligation
Does not make reasonable attempts to find and keep employment
Illinois courts may impute income for the parent who pays child support or the parent who receives child support. A parent entitled to child support payments may try to lower his or her income in order to receive more from the other parent. The paying parent in a situation like this may ask the court to use the recipient’s imputed income for the purposes of calculating the child support obligation.
Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney
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