Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed May 24, 2012

In re Marriage of McGrath, 2012 IL 112792

Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 102119.


      JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.


      This child support case comes from Cook County. The parties, who had twin children, divorced in 2007, at a time when the husband was unemployed. The issue of child support was reserved at that time. The husband then began living off assets which had been awarded to him as part of the marital estate, withdrawing about $8,500 from his savings account each month. The wife, who had custody, subsequently petitioned for child support, and, in 2010, was awarded $2,000 a month, even though the husband was still unemployed. The husband appealed and the appellate court affirmed. He appealed again.

      In this decision, the supreme court reversed the appellate court and set aside the child support order, remanding the cause to the circuit court for the making of specific findings pursuant to statute and for recalculation of a support amount. The amount withdrawn from savings should not be considered “income” because the money already belonged to him. However, if use of the statutory guidelines (i.e., 28% for two children) generates a support amount which the trial court finds is inappropriate, it should make a specific finding to that effect and then adjust the support amount accordingly. One factor it can consider, as set forth in the statute, is “the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.” The circuit court, on remand, should make the specific finding required by section 505(a)(2) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.