Big, bad things can happen in a parent’s life. A parent could lose their job, become seriously ill or go to prison. When something so serious happens in a parent’s life, what happens to their child support obligation? Can child support be put on pause while the parent deals with their unemployment, injury, illness, or incarceration? Abating Child Support In Illinois Lawyer’s love words that only seem to ever apply in a legal sense. One of those words is “abatement.” So, a lawyer will propose to “abate” child support in lieu or saying “terminate” or “pause” child support. Abatement is “the suspension or defeat of a pending action for a reason unrelated to the merits of the claim.” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019) Just because there is a word for something does not make that word good law. Abatement of child support used to be allowed in Illinois via Illinois Supreme Court Rule 296. “Upon written petition of the obligor, and after due notice to obligee (and the Department of Public Aid, if the obligee is receiving public aid), and upon hearing by the court, the court may temporarily reduce or totally abate the payments of support, subject to the understanding that those payments will continue to accrue as they come due, to be paid at a later time. The reduction or abatement may not exceed a period of six months except that, upon further written petition of the obligor, notice to the obligee, and hearing, the reduction or abatement may be continued for an additional period not to exceed six months.” 134 Ill. 2d R. 296(f) The committee comments were even nicer to child support payees who were down on their luck. “This paragraph applies only to the short-term inability of the obligor to pay support due to a temporary layoff from employment or other factors. It recognizes that obligors often become temporarily unemployed, rendering them unable to meet their support obligations. This provision is short of a written modification of the Order for Support. It allows the obligor to petition the court, prior to the filing of a petition for adjudication of contempt, for an opportunity to repay those amounts in small increments after employment is regained. This rule is contrary to the holding of the appellate court in Coons v. Wilder (1981), 93 Ill. App. 3d 127, [ 416 N.E.2d 785,] in which the court stated, `We find no statutory or case […]