I Lost My Job: Can I Modify Child Support?
No parent in DuPage County wants to face a situation in which they cannot afford to make their regular child support payments. However, there are numerous situations that can arise to make it difficult or even impossible for a parent to contribute his or her portion of the child support obligation. For example, if a parent gets hurt and cannot work, that parent may be hospitalized for a month or longer, preventing that parent from earning money and contributing to the support of the child. Or, a parent might lose his or her job. If you lose your job, can you have your child support obligation modified?
In short, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows parents to modify child support in some circumstances, but it is important to understand how child support can be modified and what limitations might exist. If you need to modify child support, you should reach out to a DuPage County child support attorney as soon as you can.
Are You Eligible to Modify Child Support?
In order to modify child support, in most circumstances, one of the following must be true:
- Three years have passed since the child support order.
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances.
- Recalculation of the child support order would result in a change of $50 (or more), or 20 percent of the obligation, per month—whichever is less.
The IMDMA does not expressly define what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances, but if you are seeking to modify child support because you lost your job, an Illinois court typically will consider the loss of a job to constitute a substantial change in circumstances.
Reasons for Your Job Loss
If you are seeking to request a modification of child support because you lost your job, the court will have questions about the reasons or motivation for your job loss. To be clear, the court will want to determine whether you did something intentionally to lose your job in order to avoid paying child support. While it might seem unfair that the court would ever think that you would avoid supporting your child financially, it is important to make sure that the job loss did not result from the parent’s goal of avoiding his or her child support obligation.
This does not mean that the court will penalize you if you were fired for cause from your job. For example, you might have disagreed significantly with one of the employment practices at your workplace, which may have resulted in your termination. In such a situation, the court would assume that you would begin looking for another job (which you likely already are doing). Whether a parent is terminated for cause or loses his or her job due to layoffs, the court can consider this as a substantial change in circumstances necessary to modify a child support order as long as the parent did not lose the job to avoid paying child support.
Depending upon the specific facts of your case, the court may determine that your job situation—and loss of income—is only temporary. Accordingly, the court may order a temporary modification of child support until you find a new job, at which point the court will revisit your child support obligation.
Contact a Child Support Lawyer in Oakbrook Terrace
Modifying a child support order can be complicated, but a skilled DuPage County child support lawyer can help. Our firm regularly assists members of the Muslim community with a wide range of family law matters, and we can get started on your case today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or contact us by phone at 630-909-9114.