Whether you are the parent who pays or receives child support, you should be aware of your rights and obligations under Illinois’ statute on child support obligations. In some cases, the duty to pay child support arises out of a divorce. In other cases, it follows a parentage case. Regardless of the specific circumstances, child support orders are legally binding. There are severe consequences and penalties for violating a child support order. Here, our Chicago child support lawyer about ending child support payments in Illinois.
Most Child Support Orders Include a Termination Date
In most cases, child support orders include a termination date. As a result, a parent paying child support can stop their payments on that date. In other words, a paying child support does not need to file a legal petition to terminate their financial obligations. They can stop making payments on the date listed in the child support order.
In Illinois, a child support order will generally last until at least the child’s 18th birthday. However, if the 18-year-old is still in high school—as many 18-year-olds are—then support terminates upon the date of the child’s high school graduation or their 19th birthday, whichever comes first.
Note: Some parents have their child support withheld by an employer out of their wages. Some employers will insist upon a court order that authorizes the withholding to stop. In this situation, if the parents do not dispute the termination, a simple agreed upon order can be presented to the court and then shared with the employer.
Emancipation Is Also Grounds for Terminating Child Support
While rare, it is also possible to base your petition on the child’s emancipation. Courts have recognized that a child can “self-emancipate,” which means they are living independently without the need for parental care and support. Examples may include where the child is married or has joined the military.
Terminating Child Support Does Not Absolve You of Arrearages
If the court does grant your petition to end child support obligations, keep in mind that you are still accountable for any past due amounts and interest. If you have any questions or concerns about past due child support, reach out to an experienced Chicago, IL child support attorney for help.
Petition to Modify versus Termination of Child Support
Prior to the termination of child support, a substantial change of circumstances may warrant a modification of child support. Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/510), a court can modify the terms of a child support order if the parent’s underlying financial situation and the previous arrangement is inequitable. Some examples of situations that could constitute a substantial change in circumstances include the loss of a job, development of a serious medical condition, or loss of income or financial resources. To learn more about modification of child support in Illinois, please see our previous posts on this topic:
- What Do I Do If I Cannot Afford Child Support?
- Asking the Court for an Increase in Child Support
- Post Divorce Enforcement & Modification
Contact Our Chicago, IL Child Support Attorney for Immediate Help
Child support termination and modification cases are complex. You need professional guidance and support. For more information on petitions to terminate child support, please contact the Chicago, IL offices of Michael C. Craven at (312) 621-5234 or via our website. We can set up a consultation with a Chicago child support attorney who can review your circumstances and explain your legal options. We represent parents in Cook County and throughout Northern Illinois.
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