A parent cannot reduce his or her child support obligation by voluntarily leaving their job.   Or working far below his or her ability to earn income.

Father was an exterminator.  He left his job to start his own exterminating business.  He invested heavily in the new business.  He earned far less on his own than he had earned as an employee. Father’s credibility  as to what he actually earned was questioned by the court. The trial court set his child support way above the guideline amount for the income he claimed he earned. Father appealed.

The Appellate Court agreed with the support amount.  It said that it was up to the father to determine how he would be able to pay the support.

The court stated that father can continue working as an exterminator. ”That’s fine” and “that is his right”.  The trial court only required that he pay a higher amount of support.  He may be able to pay this extra amount by working harder at his current job.  He can supplement his income with part-time work. He can cut his expenses elsewhere.  He can use his savings.  He can win the lottery.  All of these options would allow him to continue with his chosen field and pay his child support obligation.

If a court finds that a person needs to make a good-faith effort to earn sufficient income.  Or, the court may set a support obligation.  At a higher level appropriate to that person’s skills and experience.

IRMO Sweet, 316 Ill.App.3d 101.