Many unmarried and divorced parents in Illinois pay child support. The monthly payments are meant to help evenly spread the cost of raising a child when parents are unmarried or divorced. In order to determine which parent will pay child support, the court chooses one parent to be the primary guardian. This parent has the majority of the parenting time and will therefore receive any child support which is ordered. The court then considers both parent’s income, assets, and life circumstances and uses that information to calculate a fair and reasonable child support payment amount.
However, we all know that life can be unpredictable. Sometimes unexpected life events like job loss, becoming hospitalized, or incurring significant medical bills leave parents unable to make their child support payments in full and on time. If you are struggling to pay your court-ordered child support, read on to learn how to handle the situation in a way that benefits both you and your child.
Never Skip Child Support Payments
One of the most critical errors any payer parent can make is to simply stop paying their child support. Skipping a payment or paying a lesser amount than is required by the court order will make the payer parent look irresponsible and can influence the court’s decisions regarding child support and child custody in the future. Parents who do not make child support payments can have their wages garnished or tax refund intercepted. Furthermore, extensive nonpayment of court-ordered child support can be punishable by jail time. Illinois law calls this “criminal nonsupport.” Instead of missing payments, notify the court immediately upon realizing you cannot make your payments.
Request a Formal Child Support Modification Through The Court
In order to qualify for a change in your child support obligation, you must have experienced a "substantial change in circumstances.” The court cannot change child support orders without a good reason. You will need to file a petition for child support modification with the court that has jurisdiction over your case. In the petition, you will need to explain why you need a modification. Keep in mind that the court’s objective is to help the child or children retain the best quality of life possible in both homes. The court will do what it considers is in the best interest of the child, and sometimes this means denying requests for lower child support payments.
Let Us Help
Speak with an experienced DuPage County child support attorney from the Andrew Cores Family Law Group for help with all of your family law needs. Call us at 630-871-1002 today to schedule a free consultation.