Can I Reduce Child Support In Illinois?
If you are paying child support that feels unaffordable, you are not alone because many non-custodial parents face a similar issue. If things have changed since the entry of the child support order, you may be able to change the amount of your child support payments. In some instances, it may be that you’ve recently become unemployed. On the other hand, you might have seen an unexpected reduction in income.
These are just two common reasons why someone may need a modification in Illinois. If you’re interested in learning whether you can reduce child support in Illinois, continue reading to learn more.
Child Support Laws in Illinois
In Illinois, both parents are responsible for providing support to the child because Illinois now uses an “Income Shares Model” for calculating the payment of child support. When determining child support payments, the judge will take both parents’ income into account. These incomes are then used to calculate an appropriate child support payment for the parent with less parenting time..
It’s important to note that while the non-custodial parent will usually pay child support, either parent may be ordered by the judge to provide health insurance, which will likely depend on the options available.. The amount of health insurance costs for the minor child is usually factored in the child support payment. For example, if the noncustodial parent covers the health insurance, a portion of the health insurance cost would be subtracted from the total child support owed; likewise, if the custodial parent pays the cost of health insurance, then the non-custodial parent would pay an additional amount to the custodial parent.
Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
Even if you need to reduce child support in Illinois, you should never stop paying or sending less than the required amount until you have received approval from the judge. There are various consequences of failing to pay child support, including:
- Contempt of Court: Any non-custodial parent that fails to pay child support may be in contempt of court. As a result, they may receive up to 6 months in jail time.
- Wage Garnishment: If the non-custodial parent does not pay child support, the custodial parent can request to have their income taken from their employee earnings through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services.
- Driver’s License Suspension: Any parent that is more than 90 days past due on child support payments in Illinois may have their licenses suspended by the court.
- Criminal Conviction: Any paying parent that fails to pay child support a second time is subject to a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail time.
Can You Reduce Child Support in Illinois?
Yes, it’s possible to reduce child support payments in Illinois. However, child support payments cannot be changed without going to the courts. A judge will need to enter a new court order for there to be a modification. Even if you and your ex have “agreed” to change child support, you still need to enter an agreed order.
With that said, either parent can go to the court to ask them to modify the amount of child support. However, there must have been a substantial change in circumstances since the last support order. Here are a few circumstances where you may need to reduce the amount of child support payments:
- Unemployment: If you’ve become unemployed since the initial child support order, this is a substantial change that will allow you to reduce your child support payments.
- Change of Income: If there was a significant decrease in your income since the initial child support order, this is a reason to request a reduction. It’s important to note that this change must be considered substantially different compared to the original child support order.
- Health Problems or Disability: Experiencing health problems or a disability can have a significant impact on a person’s income. A parent whose health has worsened or has developed a disability may not be able to work as many hours, not work at all, or maintain the same level of parenting time.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Getting your child support payments reduced means going before a judge. If you would like to do so, having a lawyer can provide you with the right support and direction when starting the modification process. Even if you have an agreement, you need to have a proper agreed order prepared, and having the help of a lawyer can save you the headaches of self-navigation.
A lawyer experienced with child support-related issues can help you prepare for the hearing by filing a modification request on your behalf and gathering all of the necessary evidence to support your modification request. The lawyer will gather pertinent information, such as tax returns, pay stubs, and other necessary financial information.
An experienced child support modification lawyer will provide you with invaluable support by helping you reduce your child support payments. We will file all of the legal paperwork necessary and ensure that you have a fighting chance at getting your child support payments reduced.