Child support payments are usually set in accordance with several factors, one of which is the income of the parents.
This is why parents are required to provide pay stubs and other proof of income when a judge considers the issue of child support.
Child support can still be calculated without a parent’s exact income if the parent is unemployed but has working potential. In these cases, the court looks at the parent’s imputed income.
Imputed income is income that the court attributes to a parent even when the parent does not earn that amount. An imputed income is an income the court decides that the parent can make based on the parent’s background, education, specialized skills, and educational credentials.
If the parent is earning less than the imputed income, the court can still use the imputed income and not the actual income as the basis for ordering child support or spousal support.
In Illinois, a court can only impute income in three instances.
In order to impute income to a parent, the court must find: (1) the parent is voluntarily unemployed, (2) the parent is trying to evade child support in reducing income, or (3) the parent has unreasonably failed to obtain a job opportunity.
This is supposed to primarily address those parents who quit good jobs with high salaries to take lower-paying jobs in order to lower their child support obligations to the other parent.
Other steps taken by a parent to delay payment and show less income, such as deferring a bonus or raise, can also be considered.
Parents who are ordered to pay child support can also seek to have their child support reduced based on an imputed income attributable to the other parent. Therefore, the parent who is receiving child support should fight an attempt to reduce child support payments based on an income imputed to her.
The parent can do this by providing evidence that she does not have the earning potential claimed by the other parent.
Once a parent’s income is imputed, it is not always a permanent finding. If a parent finds a job that pays less than the imputed income, despite diligently trying to find a job that matches his skills, he may go back to court to seek an adjustment of the child support order.
The same is true if the parent finds a job that pays more than the imputed income, the parent receiving support can seek an adjustment to increase the amount of child support.
Contact An Experienced Attorney
If you want to seek a child support modification, you should consult an experienced attorney who can advise you on whether or not it will be in your best interest to seek a modification.
Contact an experienced Naperville child support lawyer at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC for a consultation.