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Do Illinois Parents Have to Pay Child Support If They Are Unemployed?

 Posted on February 06, 2023 in Child Support

Will County child support lawyersAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate currently hovers around 3.5 percent. The reasons for unemployment are as varied as the people who make up this statistic. Some people are still struggling to find employment after the pandemic, while others have been affected by the recent layoffs in the technology industry. Some individuals also choose not to work. They may decide to forgo employment in favor of child-raising or domestic duties, or for personal reasons.

Whatever the cause, unemployment can significantly impact a parent's ability to provide financial support to their child in the form of child support. If you are the payer or recipient of child support in Illinois, it is important to understand how unemployment can affect your child support order.

Intentional Unemployment

When it comes to child support, Illinois courts differentiate between intentional unemployment and unintentional unemployment. Intentional unemployment is when a parent voluntarily chooses to be unemployed or underemployed. Some parents do this solely in an effort to reduce their child support obligation. Intentional unemployment is frowned upon by Illinois courts, and if a court finds that a parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, they may impute or estimate the parent's income for the purpose of child support calculations. For example, if a parent used to make $100,000 a year and is now voluntarily unemployed, the court may use his or her previous income in the Income Shares calculation to determine his or her child support order.

A parent who is working “under the table” is likely to be considered intentionally unemployed. Working off the books is relatively common among those who do not want the “system” knowing how much they make.  

Unintentional Unemployment

On the other hand, unintentional unemployment is when a parent has been laid off or lost their job due to economic conditions, downsizing, or another reason beyond their control. Parents in this situation may be able to reduce their child support obligation through a petition for child support modification. A judge uses a number of factors to determine whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification, including the length of unemployment and the parent's effort to find new employment.

If you have any questions about how unemployment can affect your child support order in Illinois, it is best to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation.

Contact a Joliet Child Support Lawyer for Help

The Plainfield family law attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. assist with child support modifications, enforcement, and many other child-related family law issues. If you need to change your child support order or your spouse is not paying child support, we can help you take the necessary legal action. Call 815-666-1285 and set up a free consultation.



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