Can Child Support Be Lowered if I am Unable to Work?

When parents divorce, the amount of child support that is owed by each parent is determined by a number of factors, including each parent’s income. However, things change over time, and there may be a situation where a parent is unable to work. If this situation is happening to you, the knowledgeable and skilled child support attorneys in Northbrook and Chicago at Gordon & Perlut are here to help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation of your case.

Modifying a Child Support Order

Child support in Illinois may be lowered through a modification petition. Typically, the courts grant a request for a modification to child support when there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” for either parent or the child. A substantial change in circumstances is defined as a situation that is substantial, permanent, material, and/or unanticipated at the time that the original child support order was issued. Because of the last element of what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances, modifications are usually requested months or years after the initial support order was issued or approved by the courts.

Is Job Loss a Substantial Change?

Job loss or a parent’s inability to work may qualify as a substantial change in circumstances to modify an existing child support order. If the job loss is permanent, or if a parent is unable to work because of a serious illness or injury, then generally the court will consider the situation a substantial change in circumstances. As such, child support may be recalculated based on the parent’s new income or lack of income in addition to any compensation or benefits that they may be receiving in place of income, such as workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.

However, if the job loss is temporary or a parent is unable to work for a short period of time, then the court may not consider the situation enough to warrant a substantial change in circumstances. It is also important to note that if a parent is willfully refusing to work in order to avoid paying child support the court is allowed to impute an income when calculating support for each parent.

This means that the court looks at the education, professional background, and training of the parent not working to determine what they could be earning in income if they chose to seek employment, and the parent will still be required to pay child support even if they are not employed. To learn more about lowering child support in Illinois because of an inability to work, talk to our office today.

Contact Our Chicago Child Support Attorneys

Do you have more questions about what qualifies to modify an existing child support order in Illinois? If so, the experienced and qualified Chicago and Northbrook child support attorneys at Gordon & Perlut are here to help. Call the office today to schedule an evaluation of your legal needs with one of our talented and dedicated Chicago child support attorneys today.