Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Under 750 ILCS 5/505 (2012), a trial court may order a custodial parent to pay child support to a noncustodial parent where circumstances and the best interest of the child warrant it.
Iris and Steven Turk were married in October of 1993 and have two sons, Nathaniel, born in 1997, and Jacob, born in 1999. In 2004, Iris filed a petition in the circuit court of Cook County seeking dissolution of the marriage, division of the property, sole custody of the boys, and an award of maintenance and child support. Steven, in turn, filed a counter petition for dissolution requesting, among other things, that the award of custody be joint. The court entered an agreed judgment dissolving the marriage. Among the provisions of the judgment was that Steven would pay Iris $4,000 per month in unallocated maintenance and child support for 42 months, that the parties would have joint custody of the children, that the children would reside with Iris, and that Steven would provide the medical insurance for the children and cover 50% of their out-of-pocket medical and dental costs. In October of 2010, the court granted temporary physical custody of the two boys to Steven, limited Iris to supervised visitation, and made a one-time reduction in the amount Steven was then paying for child support. Steven filed a petition pursuant to section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act asking that his obligation to pay child support to Iris be terminated completely. That petition was granted in part and denied in part pursuant to an agreed order under which Steven was required to pay $700 per month "based upon the current parenting schedule." Steven subsequently asked the court to order Iris to pay child support to him. Iris, in turn, sought to have Steven held in contempt based on "visitation abuse." Steven then moved to temporarily terminate the $700 per month child support obligations. The circuit court entered an agreed "custody judgment and parenting order" which specified that Steven was to have "the sole care, custody, control and education" of the boys and gave him authority to make "[m]ajor decisions in connection with [their] education, health, care and religious training," subject to various conditions involving communication and cooperation. Iris was granted regular visitation. The court also entered a separate order disposing of Steven's remaining request to completely terminate his obligation to make child support payments to Iris. Based upon the provisions of the agreed order and a determination that Steven earned approximately $150,000 per year while Iris' earnings were less than $10,000 per year, the court ordered Steven to pay Iris child support of $600 per month and made him "solely responsible for all uncovered medical, dental, orthodontia, psychological and optical expenses for the children." Steven appealed, arguing that because he has been designated as the custodial parent, the circuit court had no authority under section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to order him to pay child support to Iris, a noncustodial parent. Steven further contended that even if the circuit court did have statutory authority to order him to make child support payments, it abused its discretion in ordering him to pay the support it did. the appellate court rejected the contention that section 505 does not authorize a circuit court to order custodial parents to pay child support to noncustodial parents. The appellate court further concluded that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Steven to pay child support and the full amount of the children's health care expenses not covered by insurance. It held, however, that the particular amount of support ordered in this case, $600 per month, was not supported by the record. It therefore reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing to determine "what monies Iris pays when she has visitation with the children," and directed the circuit court "to clearly explain the basis for any support awarded, as required by section 505." Steven filed a petition for leave to appeal from the appellate court's judgment. His primary argument is that the appellate court's interpretation of section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is novel, unsupported by the language of the statute itself and contrary to the Fifth District Appellate Court's decision in Shoff v. Shoff, 179 Ill. App. 3d 178, 534 N.E.2d 462, 128 Ill. Dec. 280 (1989).
Did the appellate court err in upholding the authority of the circuit court to order the father, as the custodial parent, to pay child support to the mother pursuant to section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act?
The court held that the appellate court did not err in upholding the authority of the circuit court to order the father, as the custodial parent, to pay child support to the mother pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/505 (2012); the father's income was significantly greater than the mother's and she had visitation rights that placed the children in her care for periods that rivaled the father's. When the appellate court reversed the portion of the circuit court's judgment ordering the father to pay $600 per month in child support and remanded for further proceedings on that issue, it should have done the same with respect to the portion of the circuit court's judgment dealing with the children's medical and dental costs.