What Should I Do If I Cannot Pay My Court-Ordered Child Support?
Many people are struggling financially during these challenging times. If you are a parent with a child support obligation, you may sometimes have trouble making your payments. However, it is important to never simply stop making child support payments. Not only is child support nonpayment heavily penalized in Illinois, child support is also an important source of income for your child’s other parent. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, it is possible that you may be eligible for a reduced payment through a child support modification.
Penalties for Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois
If you have been ordered by the court to pay a certain amount in child support every month, these payments are not optional. Child support orders are legally enforceable court orders. If you do not pay, you could face major administrative or even criminal penalties. You may be subject to:
- Wage garnishment
- Property liens
- Tax refund interception
- Driver’s license revocation
Because not paying child support is in violation of a court order, it is also possible that you could be held in contempt of court or even charged with a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense. If you are struggling to make your support payments on time and in full, simply stopping payments is never the answer. Instead, petition the court for relief through a child support modification request.
Requesting a Child Support Modification
The amount a parent pays in child support is based on both parents' net incomes. Payment amounts are designed to be fair and reasonable while still providing the child the financial support he or she needs. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to receive a reduced obligation through a child support modification. There are three main ways that a parent can be granted a child support modification:
- You or the other parent have experienced a substantial change in circumstances. This change could be the loss of your job, a considerable reduction in your income, a considerable increase in the other parent’s income, or another major change.
- The current child support order significantly deviates from the child support guidelines set forth by Illinois law and this deviation was not the court’s intention.
- The current child support order does not account for the child’s healthcare needs.
If the reason you cannot pay your child support is that you were laid off at work or have experienced an income reduction, your child support obligation may go down. However, you will be expected to find suitable employment and show evidence of your attempts to do so.
Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer
If you are having trouble meeting your child support obligation, you may be able to petition the court for a reduced payment amount. For help, contact a St. Charles family law attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call 630-584-5550 and schedule a free consultation today.