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Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I Lost My Job?

 Posted on October 10, 2022 in Child Support

DuPage County child support lawyerSo you lost your job and feel like the rug has been pulled from underneath you. How are you going to make your next child support payment? It can be a terrifying situation. Especially because being unemployed does not absolve you from this obligation. If you need help with a child support matter to ensure your child is taken care of in the least disruptive way possible, there are some options.

Payment is Not Negotiable

The amount and length of child support are not negotiable between you and your ex-spouse. If you have no income, you are still legally responsible for contributing financially to your children’s food, shelter, clothing, health, and education. 

Child support payments in Illinois are determined by combining the monthly net incomes of both parents and splitting the child support obligation into two parts for each parent that depend on the parent’s income and time with the children. The state also considers the number of children, their needs, and the lifestyle they would have had, living with two parents. 

File for a Modification ASAP to Protect Yourself

Child support payments do not stop or change right after you lose your job. The court has to approve a new child support order. Either parent can request the court to modify your child support order only if you are undergoing a major change in circumstances, such as a significant increase or increase in income. You can reach out to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to request a modification. You will have to certify your income and expenses and any unemployment benefits you may be receiving. You can also hire a private attorney to take the case to court for you. 

If the court approves your modification, the decreased payments may be applied back to the date you filed for the change. In the meantime, do not skip any payments because you may still have to pay them back with interest. In some cases, you could face fines, jail time, or be found in contempt of your order. The change in payments can only start from the date you filed for a modification. 

Quitting Your Job Versus Being Laid Off

Quitting your job may not be enough to warrant a change in child support payments. If you stop complying with the original child support order, the payments will only continue to back up and often accrue interest until you start paying again. 

In cases where you are laid off, the court may use your current income to calculate child support payments. If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, those payments will count toward your net income. 

On the other hand, if you choose not to work or fail to try to find a new job after being laid off or fired, the court may use your potential income to determine your child support obligation. In these cases, they look at your work history, past salary, skills, and education.

Contact a DuPage County Child Support Attorney 

If you are experiencing circumstances that impact your ability to financially support your children call 630-657-5052 for a free consultation. At Davi Law Group, a Wheaton child support lawyer can help you determine if changing your child support order due to financial hardship is a viable option. The Davi Law Group, LLC will give you an honest assessment and explain our approach.



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