Child support payments can be tough to make even in the best financial times. For Illinois parents who lose a job, have a medical problem, or experience some other sort of money shortage, keeping current on child support can seem virtually impossible. While only a Highland Park child custody attorney can discuss your case with you and give you legal advice, here is some general information about modifying a child support order in Illinois.
Failure to Pay
As you probably know, failing to make your child support payments is not a good idea. Since child support is a legally binding court order, nonpayment has some significant consequences. If you have missed a payment, you might consider talking to an experienced family attorney about your options.
Lowering the Amount
Since a judge ordered you to pay child support, a judge must issue an order changing the amount of your child support payments. To start the process, you must file a petition seeking a reduction. Generally, judges will not reduce payments simply because you don’t want to make them. As such, with the petition, you will need to file supporting documentation showing that you have an inability to pay your child support. In legal terminology, you must show your circumstances have changed.
Changed circumstances in child support cases can occur for a variety of reasons. If you lost your job or work reduced hours, your circumstances might have legally changed. Similarly, if you have suffered an injury or have experienced skyrocketing living expenses, you might have a valid argument for changed circumstances. Remember, though, whether you qualify for a reduction in your child support payments is a legal question that only a skilled Highland Park child custody attorney can help you answer.
Raising the Amount
As you might suspect, down is not the only direction your child support payments can go. Often, custodial parents who receive child support payments seek an increase. Generally, this requires proof that the current payment is insufficient to meet the child’s financial needs. Alternatively, if you have more economic resources now than you did when the court issued its child support order, the other parent might want you to pay an increased amount. Ultimately, though, a judge will decide whether to modify your support payments.
Whether you need to reduce the monthly amount you pay in child support or to fight an effort to increase your obligation, you should consider speaking with a skilled Highland Park child custody attorney. Only after a careful legal review of your situation can you determine your likelihood for success.