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What courts take into account to calculate support after divorce

36928961_S.jpgIllinois judges will take several factors into account when determining how much a person must pay in child and spousal support after a divorce. While individual courts may differ in the specifics, they all generally follow the same guidelines.

Calculating income for the purposes of alimony and child support can be somewhat complex. A court might include everything from wages and performance bonuses to deferred compensation and investment dividends. Judges may also look beyond the income reported on tax returns for other means of support if the family appears to have a lifestyle that could not be supported by reported income. Another consideration is what the ex could potentially be earning or what they lived on during the marriage. In the first instance, an ex who has a professional degree but is working in retail might be expected to earn a higher income. An example of the second instance might be someone who received money from family during the marriage despite not working outside the home.

Some people may want to time a divorce so that it is completed before a particularly lucrative year. Another option is to give a spouse a larger share of assets in exchange for less support. However, there may be a modification provision that allows changes to support in case of income increases or decreases.

A parent who needs to ask for a child support modification because of a drop in income should not delay in doing so. Modifications are not retroactive. This means that even if the court agrees that the parent should pay less, back support will still be owed. A family law attorney could help with the modification process.

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