Ex-husband received a lump-sum settlement for his worker’s compensation claim. Ex-husband chose not to take monthly payments. A one-time payment such as a lump-sum settlement is still income. The child support guidelines are clear. Payment is 20% of net income from all sources for one child.
The fact that the lump sum payment is only happening one time can be considered by the court.
The court can decide not to follow the child support guidelines when it is dealing with a lump sum. But, the court must justify anything different from the 20% guidelines.
The worker’s compensation settlement agreement provided for a monthly payment to ex-husband over his lifetime. This was provided as information only. The settlement agreement stated that the lump sum equaled $580.30 per month. Ex-husband’s life expectancy was 34 years.
The court said that ex-husband should have taken the monthly payment. He can’t argue to pay based on the monthly payment if he took a lump sum.
Ex-husband argued that the court was free to determine a “fair and equitable” amount of child support. The court could consider the nature of the award, the child’s age, and the circumstances of the case.
Ex-husband argued that the court had clear evidence as to what his monthly income was calculated at, for purposes of the settlement. The fact that he chose to take it as a lump sum is irrelevant overall.
Ex-husband presented insufficient evidence for deviation. He never specifically asked the court to depart from the guidelines. He did not testify about the child’s financial resources. There was nothing about the child’s standard of living if the marriage had continued. Nothing about the child’s physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs. Nothing about even his own financial resources and needs. Nothing to show that the court should order less than the guidelines provided for.
He provided no details about his injury. No details about his prognosis for future employment. Ex-husband provided a lot of detail about the things that he was buying with the money-motorcycle, hunting property, vacation, paying off his mortgage, extensively remodeling his home, etc..
The Appellate Court said that the trial court properly set child support at 20% of the lump-sum settlement.
IRMO Mayfield, 2013 IL 114655.
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