How to Determine Income for Child Support and Spousal Maintenance
Most people know how much income they earn in a month or a year. Sometimes, however, determining the actual amount of income can become complicated. For example, what if you are an independent contractor, and your income is constantly in flux? Or, what if you are receiving Social Security benefits? These are just two situations in which determining how much income you have becomes tricky. However, your income will play a vital role in divorce proceedings, particularly when finalizing terms regarding child support and spousal maintenance. So, how do you define your income in divorce proceedings? In Illinois, these determinations are based on three different statutes: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the Income Withholding for Support Act, and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA governs financial support obligations for divorced spouses who live in different states, and it has the broadest definition of income. Under the UIFSA, income is considered any earnings or property subject to withholding for support.
To understand this vague definition, you must first determine what income and other property is subject to withholding for support. This is outlined in the Income Withholding for Support Act.
Income Withholding for Support Act
This Act provides a detailed listing of what is considered income. Under this law, income is defined as any form of payment made to an individual. The source of the income is irrelevant. A few examples of income listed include:
- Vacation pay
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Disability payments
- Insurance proceeds
- Interest income
- Income as an independent contractor
While the full list in the Act seems to state that any money you receive is considered income, the statute also contains some exceptions. Items that are not considered income include:
- Taxes, including federal, state, local, and Social Security
- Certain retirement and disability contributions
- Union dues
- Any amount exempt under the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act
- Public assistance payments
- Unemployment insurance benefits
The UIFSA and the Income Withholding for Support Act are often referred to when determining income for maintenance and child support. However, the most important piece of legislation in these proceedings is the IMDMA.
Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
The IMDMA also defines gross income as any payments from any sources. However, this Act also has some exceptions. They include:
- Public assistance benefits
- Child support
- Survivor benefits
- Foster care payments
In cases that involve disability payments for the benefit of the child, these must also be included in the parent’s gross income if the parent is disabled or retired. This can help calculate the parent’s child support obligation.
Clearly, Illinois has many statutes that define income in divorce cases. When calculating child support the income earned by both parents will be taken into account, and spousal maintenance is also based on the difference between the income earned by spouses. A variety of other factors may come into play as well, including support payments from a previous marriage or the expenses necessary to meet a child’s ongoing needs.
Call an Arlington Heights Child Support and Alimony Lawyer
Defining income in Illinois divorce proceedings can quickly become complicated. To ensure that all relevant factors are taken into account when establishing child support or spousal maintenance orders, you should work with skilled Barrington divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson. Call our office today at 847.873.6741 for your free initial consultation.