In the divorce decree, the parties shared custody of their minor child.    A determination had already been made that the child was entitled to SSDI dependent benefits based upon the husband’s disability.

The trial court took that information into consideration.  As well as the parties’ respective net incomes, maintenance payable by the wife, and the cost of the medical insurance provided by the wife.  The Court determined that it was not appropriate to order either party to pay child support.

The Court did not consider the child’s SSDI dependent benefit as part of the husband’s gross income.  The Court instead ordered that the SSDI dependent benefit be placed in a joint account to be used for the child’s “excess expenses.”  These would include child care expenses, tuition and other educational expenses, excess medical expenses, and extracurricular activities.

Any portion of the monthly SSDI dependent benefit that was not used for excess expenses was ordered to be saved for the child.   Any expenses in excess of the monthly SSDI dependent benefit were to be split equally by the parties

The husband filed a motion to reconsider.   He argued that the trial court erred in the application of the law by failing to include the SSDI dependent benefit in the calculation of the husband’s gross income.   He argued that the SSDI dependent benefit should be applied to the basic child support obligation.  Motion denied and husband appealed.

The Appellate Court held that the Court was required to consider the SSDI benefit payment received by the child as income to the husband.

The child lived with the husband half of the time.   The husband has a responsibility to maintain the child’s standard of living.

The SSDI dependent benefit was generated through the labor and earnings of the husband.  It is intended for the current maintenance of the child.  It should be used as such.   The Court was without authority to order that SSDI dependent benefit be put into an account for future needs.

In re Marriage of Benyon, 2019 IL App (3d) 180364 (May 7, 2019) Will Co.