Many times clients contact me on a child support matter who own farms and, accordingly, have expensive farm equipment. Farmers usually take deductions on the depreciation of expensive equipment on their tax returns. This MAY affect child support, as a trial court has discretion to include nonrecurring income in calculating net income for child support purposes. See In Re Marriage of Miller, 595 N.E.2d 1349 (Ill. Ct. App. 1992).
To deduct farm equipment depreciation from net income, the child support payor must show that the expense was an “expenditure for the repayment of debt.” See In Re Marriage of Nelson, 297 Ill.App.3d 651 (3rd Dist. 1998). In Nelson, for example, the child support payor could not show this and the court felt that he was using the deducted depreciated value of his farm equipment in order to deflate his income.
Similarly, in In Re Marriage of Boland, 308 Ill.App.3d 1063 (4th Dist., 1999), the mother petitioned to modify child support almost ten years after the divorce petition was filed. The Appellate Court concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to deduct the depreciation expense for farm equipment from the father’s net income that he claimed on his tax return. Furthermore, the order was made retroactive.
Specific facts of a case can alter a court’s decision so it is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Rincker Law, PLLC can help you litigate your child support dispute. Cari Rincker is also a trained mediator and can help you mediate any child support dispute.