Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 99D1025 Honorable Stuart H. Shiffman, Judge Presiding
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steigmann
In September 1995, the trial court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage between petitioner, Grant A. Baylor, and respondent, Kim K. Baylor, and incorporating the parties' marital and joint-parenting agreements. Those agreements provided that (1) the parties would share joint custody of their child, Blake (born November 19, 1993); (2) Blake would live with Grant; (3) Kim would have reasonable visitation; and (4) Kim was financially able to pay child support. (The record does not show that the dissolution judgment set a child support amount.)
In November 1999, Grant filed a petition requesting that the trial court (1) order Kim to pay reasonable child support and (2) terminate joint custody. In March 2000, Kim filed a counterpetition seeking custody of Blake and child support. Following a June 2000 hearing, the court (1) denied Grant's petition to terminate joint custody; (2) denied Kim's petition to change custody; (3) modified Kim's visitation schedule; and (4) ordered Kim to pay $350 per month in child support. In October 2000, Grant filed a motion to reconsider, which the court later denied.
Grant appeals, arguing only that the trial court erred by failing to include Kim's military allowances in calculating her net income to determine her child support obligation. We reverse and remand with directions.
The evidence presented at the June 2000 hearing showed the following. Kim was a noncommissioned officer in the United States Air Force. In addition to her gross annual base pay, which totaled $21,960, Kim earned approximately $2,678 annually from nonmilitary part-time work. She also received certain military allowances to supplement her off-base housing and other living expenses. Those military allowances, which totaled $9,876.92 annually, were not subject to federal income tax.
Following the hearing, the trial court took the matter under advisement. In September 2000, the court entered an order providing, in pertinent part, as follows:
"Child support should be set at $350 per month. This amount slightly exceeds the guideline amount [(750 ILCS 5/505(a)(1) (West Supp. 1999) (effective June 1, 2000))] based upon Kim Baylor's net income of $20,000 per year from military pay and outside employment."
In October 2000, Grant filed a motion to reconsider, arguing, inter alia, that (1) in In re Marriage of McGowan, 265 Ill. App. 3d 976, 980, 638 N.E.2d 695, 698 (1994), the First District Appellate Court held that military allowances should be included in calculating a non-custodial parent's net income for child-support purposes; and (2) the trial court should have included Kim's military allowances in its calculation of her net income. Following a hearing, the court denied Grant's motion, stating, in pertinent part, as follows:
"With respect to the net income, [Grant's counsel] has raised a very good point. However, I just don't believe it's a point that requires me to get into the types of calculations that I think are far beyond my abilities insofar as making those determinations of net income and things of that nature."