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What Are My Options if I Am Struggling to Pay Child Support?

Posted on in Fathers' Rights

Barrington child support lawyersThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in a variety of ways, but for many people and families, the most significant impact has been the loss of employment or income. If you are a parent who pays child support, and you have been laid off, had your hours cut back, or have otherwise experienced a reduction in the income you earn, you may find yourself unable to meet your court-ordered obligations. To avoid legal consequences while ensuring that you will be able to provide for your children and meet your own needs, you will want to be sure to understand how to proceed in these types of cases.

Modification of Child Support

It is important to understand that once a child support order has been issued by the court, you will be required to follow its terms. If you miss any child support payments, you will be required to pay the amount owed, and interest may apply to past-due payments. When you are already struggling financially, this can create a huge financial burden, leading to ongoing difficulties even after you regain your financial footing. 

When child support is owed, the court may take a number of actions to recover this amount, including garnishing your future wages or unemployment benefits, intercepting tax refunds or COVID-19 economic stimulus payments, or placing a lien on your property. You can also face other consequences, such as the suspension of your driver’s license or the reporting of non-payment to credit bureaus, which can affect your credit score. Depending on the amount owed, you could even be held in contempt of court, which could lead to additional fines or time in prison.

Fortunately, you can avoid many of these consequences by seeking a modification of your child support order. You have the right to ask for a modification if you have experienced a significant change in your circumstances, including the loss of a job or a reduction in income. Depending on your ability to pay support, a temporary reduction of child support payments may be granted. If you have experienced issues that have affected your ability to earn an income in the future, such as a disability resulting from a COVID-19 infection, your child support obligations may be reduced permanently.

If you are seeking a temporary or permanent adjustment of your child support obligations, you will want to file a petition for modification as soon as possible after experiencing financial issues that affect your ability to make payments. While you will be required to make all payments that are owed until a modification is made, in some cases, a modification may be retroactive to the date when you filed your petition. Acting quickly can help you avoid additional financial difficulties as you determine how to proceed following a loss of income.

Contact Our Barrington Child Support Lawyers

If you find yourself unable to meet your child support obligations, Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC can help you pursue a modification that will allow you to maintain financial stability. To learn how we can assist with your case, contact our Barrington, IL family law attorneys at 847-381-8700.

 

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/parents/Pages/dcsscovid19FAQ.aspx

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k510.htm

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