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Child support payments may be affected by employment benefits

Illinois family court rulings, like other decisions made in courtrooms around the country, often reflect widely accepted standards and the unique factors of individual cases. For instance, the conditions used to determine child support payments may be fairly formulaic until a specific case calls into question other potential factors that may deserve consideration. One recent case may set precedence in courts across the nation, as the issue of what qualifies as personal income is explored.

The child support dispute in question took place in Ohio, and began when a man requested that his child-support payments be lowered to reflect a pay cut he received. The man did not reportedly own a cell phone, his own car or car insurance, but his employer supplied him with such items. Because of that, the Ohio Supreme Court, along with an appeals court and appellate court, found that employment benefits can be considered personal income when determining child-support payments.

The higher court based its findings on the rationale that the man would have spent his own money on the necessities, freeing up income to be used for support payments. However, the man had argued at the appeals level that most employees do not have to identify employment benefits as personal income. Just as the lower court did, the state Supreme Court ruled that the thousands of dollars-worth of company benefits the men received made him able to pay his full child-support payments.

Only one state Supreme Court justice disagreed with such findings. He argued that employment benefits designated for business-use only should not be considered personal income. However, the ruling may influence other child-support dispute cases around the country.

Source:, “Company car, phone increase child support payments,” Oct. 16, 2013

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