Will I Be Responsible for Child Support If I Am Not Working?

Will I Be Responsible for Child Support If I Am Not Working?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

In Illinois, parents have a duty to provide financial support for their children. Relatively recent changes to Illinois law resulted in a move to the “income shares” model for child support, where both parents’ incomes are taken into account by the court when determining the total amount of child support obligation between both parents.

Then, the court decides what portion of the total child support obligation each parent will pay, based on the individual parent’s income, amount of parenting time, total number of overnights with the child, and other factors. However, circumstances can change, and one parent might not be able to contribute that amount of child support in the future.

There are a variety of reasons a parent with minor children might not be able to work, such as a job loss to an illness or disability. When a parent is responsible for child support under Illinois law, it is important to understand options for handling child support payments during a time when you may not be earning an income. We want to provide you with some points to consider when determining whether you will be responsible for child support if you are not working.

Did You Voluntarily Quit Your Job to Avoid the Child Support Obligation?

When you are trying to determine whether you will be responsible for child support if you are not working, the first question you will need to contend with is whether you are unemployed voluntarily (by your own choice). More specifically, Illinois courts have determined that if any of the following are true, the court may be able to impute income:

  • You quit your job voluntarily;
  • You took a lower-paying job or left your position for the purposes of avoiding your child support obligation, or
  • You have turned down job opportunities while unemployed.

What is imputing income? It means the court will look at the amount of money you would have made if you had not voluntarily left your job or turned down a job offer, and the court will say you are obligated to pay your portion of the child support obligation based on that amount of income.

Are You Eligible to Have Your Child Support Order Modified?

If the above situations are not applicable to you, and you are currently not working due to a job loss or disability, then you will need to talk with a lawyer about modifying your child support obligation. In order to modify child support, the parent seeking the modification must be able to show there has been “a substantial change in circumstances.”

Ivery important to remember that until you file a Petition to modify your child support order, you will be responsible for paying your portion of the child support obligation.

Contact a Chicago area Child Support Lawyer

If you have any questions about your child support obligation or requirements according to Illinois law, you should get in touch with a Chicago child support lawyer as soon as possible. If you have lost your job or have become unable to work due to illness or injury, it is critical you seek legal advice before you simply stop making child support payments. Our firm can discuss possibilities for modifying the child support obligation. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about how we can help.