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How to Define Net Income in Illinois for Child Support Purposes

Posted on in Child Support

In the case captioned as In re Marriage of Mary Ellen McGrath and Martin Gibbons McGrath, 2012 IL 112792, the Supreme Court of Illinois recently decided that money that an unemployed parent frequently withdraws from a savings account may not be considered as net income for the purpose of calculating spousal support and child support.

At the time the case was at the trial level and originally decided, Mr. McGrath was unemployed and lived off of a savings account. He withdrew approximately $8,500 a month from this account. The trial court based his share of child support off of his monthly living expenses which was the $8,500 and ordered that Mr. McGrath pay $2,000 a month in child support. Mr. McGrath appealed the order and appellate court affirmed the trial court's order.

Mr. McGrath appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court of Illinois. The Supreme Court analyzed what the term "net income" means under Illinois statutory law and referred to Webster's Dictionary definition for income. Webster's defined income as "something that comes in as an increment or addition*** : a gain or recurrent benefit that is usually measured in money *** : the value of goods and services received by an individual in a given period of time." Based on this definition, the Court held that withdrawals from a savings should not be considered net income, and thus ordered the trial court to determine how much Mr. McGrath's portion of the child support should be without considering his withdrawals from savings.

If you will be going through a divorce, make sure that your portion of child support is fair and based on the facts of your situation. Contact a top Illinois divorce attorney who can provide you with the legal advice you need.

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