Ask A Lawyer: Is Child Support Calculated Net of IRA Contributions?


I pay 28% of my net income for child support to my ex wife here in the state of Illinois. Our divorce decree says nothing about how much I can deduct for 401k contributions. I currently contribute 5% since my company matches my contribution.

My ex wife is furious that I am making contributions because she says it reduces the amount that I pay her. She wants me to pay her the difference from the last 3 years which is thousands of dollars. Am I obligated to pay her this money?




The Illinois calculation of “net income” does NOT include your IRA contribution.  If the child support calculation used your income as “net of IRA contribution” then she might be able to modify it today, but she cannot go back in time and capture that money.  It was her responsibility to calculate it correctly in the first place.


Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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One comment on “Ask A Lawyer: Is Child Support Calculated Net of IRA Contributions?

    Both parents are responsible to contribute to the support of their minor children to the extent of their earning capacities and financial resources. Child support is a priority obligation, and a parent is expected to meet this obligation by adjusting his or her other expenses. A parent’s duty to support his or her child continues until the child reaches eighteen years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. A parent may be required to support an adult child who is incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability. A parent is not required to contribute to a child’s college education expenses unless he or she has contractually obligated himself or herself to do so.

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