The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 5.9 million people were unemployed in April of this year. If you or your child’s other parent is unemployed or underemployed, you may wonder how this can influence child support calculations. Presently, child support in Illinois is calculated via the income shares model. This calculation method uses both parents’ net incomes to determine how much a parent pays in child support. What happens if a parent’s income is very low?
Voluntary Unemployment Versus Involuntary Unemployment
Some people find themselves laid off due to budget cuts, the COVID-19 pandemic, or other reasons. They want to work but cannot find or keep a job. Others choose not to work or make little effort to find suitable employment. Illinois courts handle voluntary unemployment and underemployment differently than involuntary employment difficulties. A parent who is unwillingly unemployed or underemployed may be able to reduce their child support obligation through a child support modification. However, the court will have little sympathy for a parent who chooses not to work.
Child Support Calculations May Be Based on Actual or Imputed Income
If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or chooses to make less money than he or she could, the court may use the parent’s imputed income to determine child support. Imputed income or estimated income is what the court determines a parent could be making if he or she puts in the necessary effort. The parent’s work history, education, job skills, and the current job market are considered by courts when determining imputed income. The court may also impute a parent’s income if evidence suggests that a parent is hiding income by receiving payments “under the table” in cash.
Enforcing Court-Ordered Child Support
If your child’s other parent is not paying child support, you may be able to take steps to enforce the child support order. The Illinois Department of Child Support Services (IDCSS) has the authority to enforce child support through wage garnishment, property liens, driver’s license suspension, and even criminal prosecution. A child support lawyer can facilitate communications with the IDCSS and ensure that the process is handled efficiently. The IDCSS is often backlogged, and, in many cases, working with an attorney yields faster results.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney for Help
Child support provides parents and children with the financial support they need to pay for housing, education, childcare, day-to-day expenses, and more. If you need help establishing, modifying, or enforcing child support, contact Calabrese Associates, P.C. today. Call our Naperville child support lawyers at 630-393-3111 for a confidential consultation.