13thApr 2019

What if I can’t pay my child support? 

Illinois modification of child support court orders

Common Misconception

Many people think that if they lose their job or even go to jail that their child support stops automatically. That is not the case. The child support continues until there is a court order to stop it. Meanwhile, back child support, known as an arrearage, adds up and accrues interest. 

In my experience, the most common reasons to fall behind on child support payments are layoffs, injuries, and incarceration.  It seems really unfair that you would still be responsible to pay a child support payment that was based on a job you no longer have.  However, that is the law.   

Here’s what to do 

A person in Illinois can request to reduce his/her child support payments when he/she has experienced a substantial change in circumstances.  You must file a petition to modify your child support with the Court when you experience a substantial change of circumstances like the ones named above.  If you do not, you might end up with a large arrearage.  The Court can reduce your child support from the date you file the petition going forward.  It is so important that petition be filed immediately to prevent an unfair outcome.

Sometimes, you may not have an order from the Court for child support.  The order may be an administrative order through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. You can contact IHFS to reduce your child support. If you do, you should do so in writing via certified mail.  You will want to keep proof of the notification.  However, I suggest contacting an attorney to navigate this process with you for the best outcome.  

Contact Hicks & Spector L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss reducing your child support.

Content contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney of your choosing to discuss your particular case and to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.