A state appeals panel has ruled that trial courts have the authority to require a parent with sole custody of his or her children to pay child support to the other parent, even when the other parent doesn’t have custody.
Attorneys in the case said it’s one of first impression in Illinois, where trial courts have not previously considered whether a custodial parent should pay child support to the noncustodial parent under a permanent custody arrangement.
In a 25-page opinion issued last week, Justice Robert E. Gordon wrote that courts are charged with protecting the best interests of children, and “in some cases, the best interests of the children may require the custodial parent to pay support to the noncustodial parent where the parents have comparable parenting time and there exists a significant disparity in income between the parents.”
Iris Turk and Steven Turk have two children together and divorced in 2005.
For several years while the children lived primarily with Iris, Steven paid child support to his ex-wife. By 2011, the children began living with Steven, and he asked a Cook County Circuit Court judge to grant him sole custody and to terminate the child-support agreement.
In July 2012, Associate Judge David E. Haracz granted sole custody of the children to Steven but implemented a visitation schedule that allowed Iris to visit her younger child frequently.