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Will I owe child support if I cannot work due to a disability?

You and your spouse are getting an Illinois divorce, and it is already clear that your child will be spending the majority of his or her time with the other parent. Being unable to work because of a disability, you worry that the limited income you have may be depleted through child support. But can your spouse take away your benefits?

The Illinois statutes explain that the courts use specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support you and the other parent will pay. This is figured based on the income of each of you, as well as the amount of time your child spends with each of you and other factors.

Not all income sources are included when the court figures the amount you should pay. If you receive Supplemental Security Income, that amount is not part of the calculation. Likewise, any other benefits you receive from public assistance provided based on your income, such as SNAP, are not counted in the calculation. Income you receive to take care of another child, such as a foster child or a child from a previous marriage, is also not included. So, child support, foster care payments or survivor benefits cannot be used to pay child support to your former spouse.

Any Social Security disability benefits, retirement benefits or spousal support you receive is included in your gross income total. This information is provided to educate you on the sources of income that may be included in the child support calculation, but it is general in nature and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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