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Can I Change My Child Support Obligation if I Lose My Job?

 Posted on January 01, 2016 in Divorce

For parents who have been ordered by an Illinois court to make a child support payment, following the court order is absolutely necessary; failing to do so can result in your income being garnished, and you may even be held in contempt of court as a result, which can carry serious criminal penalties. Many parents, though, wonder what their rights are in the event that they lose their jobs. If you are unable to earn an income, are you therefore able to default on a payment, or have a court change your child support obligation?

The Penalties for Defaulting a Child Support Payment

Regardless of whether or not you lose your job, experience a change in income, or are otherwise financially unable to make your child support payment, your child support payment is due on time and in full per your court order. If you do not make your payment on time and in full, legal actions may be taken against you. These legal actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Garnishment of your wages by your employer;
  • Interception of state or federal tax refunds;
  • Revocation of your driver’s license or passport; and
  • Criminal prosecution, including fines and potential jail time.

For these reasons, it is very important that you seek legal help immediately after losing your job if you do not believe that you will be able to pay your child support obligation – failure to take action quickly can result in the above occurring.

Modifying a Child Support Order in Illinois

A modification of a child support order is possible when one of the following criteria is satisfied, according to Illinois Child Support Services:

  • At least three years have passed since the child support order was established or last modified;
  • There is a substantial change to the non-custodial parent’s income;
  • The original child support order does not account for healthcare for the child; or
  • A request for a child support review is sent to the Illinois Department of Child Support Services by the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent, or the state.

As such, if you have lost your job, you do have the right to request a modification to your child support order. However, as mentioned above, you must continue making your child support payments on time and in full until a modification is made. Further, if a judge determines that a modification of a child support order is not justified, then you will need to continue making your payments, regardless of whether or not you lost your job.

What Can a Child Support Lawyer Do For Me?

If you are in need of a modification of a child support order in Naperville, Illinois and surrounding areas, including Wheaton, Downers Grove, Lombard, Lisle, and Aurora, you should consult with an experienced Illinois child support lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner that you meet with an attorney, the sooner your modification order can proceed. To learn more, contact the team at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. now for a free and no-obligation case consultation at 630-961-0060.

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