During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have had to lay off or terminate their employees for a period of time in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Losing your job for any reason can be alarming, especially if you have children. Being unemployed can affect your finances, as well as your mental and emotional health. In addition, if you are a divorced parent, it can impact your ability to pay child support. In Illinois, child support is a legal order made as part of a divorce judgment, and the amount of child support payments is based on the needs of the children, as well as both parents’ financial situations. This type of support is meant to pay for children’s necessities, such as food and clothing. If you have recently lost your job, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding child support payments according to Illinois law.
What to Do if You Cannot Pay Child Support
Within the state of Illinois, you are required to follow the court’s orders regarding payment of child support, regardless of your current circumstances. If you miss any payments while you are unemployed, you will still have to pay them at some point, and interest may be applied to past-due payments. Missing payments could result in significant penalties, including fines, the loss of your driver’s license, or even jail time. To save yourself from potential legal trouble, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits that will allow you to meet your obligations, and you can take steps to modify your child support order based on your financial circumstances.
If you are ineligible for unemployment benefits or are unable to make child support payments on time or in full, you should be sure to contact the court to request a modification. You may need to provide reasons for your unemployment and demonstrate that you are searching for a new job. Once you are able to do so, you will be required to make up any missed child support payments.
While you should do your best to pay child support as ordered, any changes to the amount you must pay may be retroactive to the date when you filed a petition for modification. If your request to modify child support is approved, support payments may be based on your potential income. This may be determined based on your previous employment history, your available job opportunities and qualifications, the assets you own, and other factors that affect earnings levels within your community. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a child support modification may remain in effect temporarily while you are unemployed, and the amount of child support may be reassessed once you have secured a new job.
Most child support orders require parents to provide health insurance coverage for their children. If your children were covered under your insurance policy, the loss of your job may result in the loss of medical insurance for your children. If you are no longer able to provide health insurance for your child, you may want to talk to the child’s other parent and determine the options for ensuring that your children have the coverage they need. If the other parent has health insurance through his or her employer, you may be able to add your children to this policy. Any modifications to your child support order may need to address children’s health insurance coverage, including how the costs of premiums will be divided between you and the other parent.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
During this unprecedented time, many people have found themselves out of work. If you are unable to pay child support due to unemployment, you should act quickly to avoid further legal and financial issues. If you need to pursue a modification of your child support obligations, contact a skilled Lombard, IL child support lawyer from A. Traub & Associates. Our knowledgeable legal team will provide exceptional representation while protecting your parental rights and your children’s best interests. Call or text us today at 630-426-0196 to schedule your private consultation.