Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

How does child support work if I am seasonally employed?

Many people in the Rockford area have what is often called seasonal employment. For instance, during these months of summer, construction workers, landscapers, and people who work on air conditioners may put in 60 to 80 hour weeks and thus get huge paychecks in the short term.

Once winter returns, however, available work hours may dwindle down well below 40 a week.

This sort of situation presents a unique issue with respect to child support. Unlike other cases, a court cannot just assume that a person's last few pay stubs give an accurate picture of her income over the entire year because of the seasonal employment.

Likewise, it would not be fair to modify child support based on the fact that a parent makes more in his peak season or, for that matter, is not making as much during his off season.

Illinois' Child Support Guidelines require that income from seasonal employment, just like any other employment, be included in the court's child support calculations. However, in the case of seasonal employment, a parent will need to present good financial documentation giving the court a clear picture of his income over the entire year, and not just during months that are particularly busy or particularly slow.

Moreover, especially in a contested case, it is important that a parent be prepared to explain her seasonal employment to the judge clearly and convincingly. Otherwise, the parent may be open to an accusation, however unfair, that she is underemployed voluntarily or that her income is higher than what she is claiming. Having an experienced attorney can be helpful in this respect.

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