Mother filed a motion in probate court. The parties were already divorced. The probate court had named Mother as the Guardian of the daughter, Denise.  Mother wanted Father to help pay for their soon-to be-adult disabled daughter. Regular child support from Father would be over soon.

Father earned about $170,000 annually. Mother earned about $40,000 annually.

Mother testified that Denise lived with her.  There were no government benefits. Mother received approximately $147 a week from Father.  This is the amount Father was paying as child support before Denise became an adult. Mother testified that she and Denise were able to survive on Mother’s income plus what she received from Father.

The probate court first did not think that it had authority to award support in this case.  Even if it did have authority, how much support? The case was a guardianship proceeding and not a dissolution proceeding.

But, the court decided that it could order support under a different method. The probate court said that it had the power to order support that was in Denise’s best interests. The court then struggled to decide how to figure out the amount of support Mother should receive. The court determined that the child support standards of the Dissolution Act did not apply to the current proceedings. The court eventually ordered Father to contribute $350 per week to Mother.

Father appealed. He said that the probate can not order him to pay for an adult disabled child. The appellate court did not agree with Father.  It said that in cases under the Probate Act, the trial court can look at the support provision in the Dissolution Act. This case did involve a divorce.  Section 513.5 of Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act authorizes such support. The case went back to the probate court to figure out an appropriate amount of support.

In re Guardianship of Sanders, 2017 IL App (4th) 160502, May 9, 2017.

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