The Second District of the Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled that there is no limitation to the deduction of dependent health insurance premiums paid by the obligor when determining child support obligations.
Simplified fact pattern:
Husband and Wife are divorcing. Wife has residential custody of the parties’ one minor child, Adam. Husband has another minor child from a previous marriage, Betty. Husband is also obligated to pay child support for the benefit of Betty. Husband obtained health insurance through his employer and added both children to the policy. The health insurance policy premium costs the same whether Husband has one child or two children added thereto. For simplicity’s sake, let us say the health insurance premium is $100.
The child support statutory guidelines for the state of Illinois provide that the non-residential parent shall customarily pay 20 percent of his or her net income for the support of one minor child.
The child support statutory guidelines do not define net income as what a person takes home in his or her paycheck, but instead, that individual’s gross income minus very specific statutorily allowed deductions. One of those deductions is dependent health insurance premiums paid by the obligor.
Husband deducted the $100 health insurance premium from his gross income when determining his child support obligations for both Adam and Betty; however, Wife argued that Husband incurred no cost by adding Adam to the policy, and because Husband already received credit for the $100 health insurance premium when he calculated his child support obligation for Betty, he should not be allowed this deduction.
The trial court agreed with Wife and disallowed Husband’s deduction for health insurance premiums when determining Husband’s child support obligations for Adam. Husband appealed, and the Second District of the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the trial court’s ruling on this issue.
The Illinois Appellate Court stated that the child support statutory guidelines were clearly written and that they did not indicate the deduction was allowable only in instances where it benefitted the child at issue.
The case is in re AALIYAH L.H., 2013 IL.App.(2d) 120414.
• Anthony Scifo is a resident of Kane County and an associate attorney with Shaw, Jacobs, Goostree and Associates P.C. in St. Charles, where he concentrates in divorce and family law, personal injury and wrongful death. His goal with this occasional column is to help educate the public regarding the court system and the law. Contact him with general legal questions at email@example.com.