Losing your job can drastically reduce your income. As a parent who provides child support, you may wonder if losing your job constitutes grounds to modify your existing support order. Here is what the law says about obtaining child support reductions after job loss and how an Illinois lawyer can help.
Demonstrating a Substantial Change in Circumstances
Under Illinois law, child support can only be modified if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” since the current support order. Losing your employment or having your hours or wages significantly reduced likely qualifies as a substantial change.
Be prepared to provide proper documentation like termination notices, payroll records, and unemployment determinations to prove your income reduction. The change in income must be large and lasting enough to justify a support modification.
Determining Your New Income Level
When seeking a downward modification of child support due to job loss, your new income level must be determined. The court will look at current wages from a new job if obtained. Unemployment benefits will be considered. Earning potential may also be calculated based on qualifications and local job opportunities.
The modification will be based on your actual new income and earnings capacity. Evidence like job searches and applications may be requested to ensure you are actively mitigating lost wages.
Calculating the New Child Support Amount
In Illinois, child support is calculated based on a percentage of the supporting parent’s net income. The court will plug your new income levels, along with the other parent’s, into the child support guidelines to determine the appropriate modified amount.
Modifications are not retroactive in this state, so you will still owe any arrears that accrued before your motion to modify was filed after losing your job. Ongoing payments can be adjusted once the new order is issued.
Seeking Employment to Restore Income
Courts expect parents to make reasonable efforts to replace lost income after job loss. Unless physically incapacitated, voluntarily leaving the workforce will not warrant a child support reduction.
Seeking comparable or higher-paying jobs demonstrates your commitment to fulfilling your support obligations to your children. Document your active job search efforts. Once re-employed, you must promptly seek to modify support again based on your restored wages.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Losing your employment can constitute grounds to modify child support in Illinois, but requires showing substantial and lasting income reduction along with active mitigation efforts. Having an Illinois family law lawyer on your side can help you during the process. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation.