Divorcing with small children is never easy for parents. You probably worried about the impact of the divorce on the children. There's also a good chance that you worried about how this change to your family will affect your relationship with your kids.
If your ex receives custody, that typically means that you will see your children last and will also need to pay child support. Paying child support is an important parental responsibility. It helps ensure your children have everything they need for a healthy and productive childhood and adolescence.
Sometimes, parents find that their situation changes, and child support as ordered is no longer reasonable. In that scenario, it maybe time to consider a modification.
Child support modifications can reduce your ordered support level
People often believe that child support, like the divorce decree, is permanent. In reality, you can often adjust child support to reflect changes in your life, including income changes. It's important to understand that you can't just stop paying or start paying less if your income or financial situation changes.
Typically speaking, Illinois family law courts assign child support responsibilities via court order. That means that if you fail to pay child support, you are in contempt of court. Eventually, enforcement actions could take place.
These could include garnishing your wages, seizing your tax return or even arresting you for contempt. That is why it is very important to take action quickly if your child support amount is no longer reasonable. Simply failing to make the payment in full could result in legal consequences for you.
People need modifications for many different reasons
Illinois uses a relatively straightforward calculator to determine child support obligations. They look at the number of children, special expenses such as medical costs, the way custody is split and the income of both parents. When one of those factors changes, it may be necessary to revisit the amounts of support as well.
Sometimes, you just lose your job. Whether it was termination or a layoff, you may no longer have the income to pay child support as ordered. Similarly, if you find yourself nearing retirement with high child support obligations, you may need to consider a modification as well. Having another child or having one of your children reach adulthood could also be grounds for modification of a child support order.
The courts in Illinois will revisit child support amounts every three years. However, if you believe that the amount you will need to pay has changed significantly before those three years are up, you can request a modification hearing. Providing documentation of your altered income will allow the courts to make an informed decision about how to best adjust your child support.