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Once parents of a minor child have entered into a court-ordered divorce decree or parenting agreement, the requirements for child support payments are set in stone. Until the decree is modified, child support payments must be made even if the paying parent falls into difficult circumstances. If you are struggling to make child support payments and wondering whether you can petition a court for relief, read on and then contact an Illinois child support lawyer.
Generally speaking, a child support order can only be modified after three years have passed since it was issued. However, a “substantial change in circumstance” of the parent making payments may justify a modification before the three years are up. Examples of what may be considered a substantial change in circumstance include, but are not limited to:
A significant increase or decrease in the paying parent’s income
Total job loss
Changes in the child’s needs (such as a child who previously required regular physical therapy but who no longer does)
A parent who has a small decrease in income or who voluntarily leaves a well-compensated job for a part-time job or a job with a lower salary will usually not see a decrease in child support payments. Payments are based on the needs of a child, which do not change simply because the paying parent would like a different job. Judges want to see that any reduction in a parent’s income is done in good faith, meaning that the parent is not trying to dodge child support obligations.
Even if you feel sure that a court will approve your petition, keep making child support payments until the order is modified or payments are terminated. Failing to make child support payments can result in serious sanctions, such as fines, interest on the unpaid amount, being held in contempt of court, and even jail time. Rarely, courts can order retroactive reductions in payments, but this usually only happens if the receiving parent acted dishonestly.
Many different circumstances can necessitate petitioning for a modified child support order. To increase your chances of success and ensure there are no errors in your petition, get help from a DuPage County child support modification lawyer with Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. We will work hard to build a strong case so you can get through the process quickly and move on with your life. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule a complimentary consultation.