Under Illinois law, are expenses reimbursed by an employer considered “income” for purposes of calculating child support?
For starters, Illinois requires a noncustodial parent to pay guideline child support based upon a percentage of his “net income.” Under the statute, “net income” means “the total of all income from all sources,” minus certain deductions defined by law. But, is money received as a reimbursement really income? From an employee’s perspective, it would seem odd to think so; because he is only being reimbursed for money he actually spent out of his own pocket. Thus, he isn’t really getting ahead financially on the deal. Rather, he is simply breaking even.
The Second District Appellate Court recently addressed this issue in the case of Marriage of Shores. In that case, the noncustodial father appealed the trial court’s award of an increase in child support order based upon his earned two reimbursement payments received through his employer, among other issues. In short, the appellate court held that the reimbursements that he received were considered income for child support calculation purposes. But why?
In Shores, the father received two fairly large relocation reimbursements from his employer, because his office was 60 mile from home. He obtained a second residence closer to the office. The employer paid his “duplicate housing expenses,” such as the mortgage, interest, and taxes for the home which was closer to the office.