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Does My Ex Still Have to Pay Child Support if He or She is Unemployed?

Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerHousing, childcare, extracurricular activities, and other child-related costs can create a significant financial burden on a single parent. Child support payments can ease this burden substantially. Unfortunately, consistently getting the child support you need is not always easy – especially if the other parent is not consistently employed. Your financial needs and the financial needs of your child do not change simply because the paying parent or “obligor” loses his or her job.

Illinois Child Support and Unemployment

In Illinois, child support payments are based on a statutory formula that takes both parent’s income into account. The lower a parent’s income compared to the other parent’s income, the lower his or her child support obligation. The parent with the greater share of “parenting time,” or time spent with the child, is the child support recipient and the other parent is the obligor. If a parent’s income is zero because of a job loss, his or her child support payment may or may not be reduced.

Voluntary Unemployment or Involuntary Unemployment

Illinois law makes a distinction between voluntary unemployment and involuntary unemployment when it comes to child support payments. If a parent quits his or her job, the court will be less likely to grant him or her a reduced child support obligation. If a parent is laid off or fired, the court will consider the parent’s attempts to regain employment. If an unemployed parent makes genuine efforts to become suitably employed, the court may allow the parent to pay a lowered child support obligation until he or she regains employment. If a parent makes little effort to find another job, it is unlikely that the court will be sympathetic to the parent’s situation. The parent may be expected to continue paying child support at the rate he or she paid it before the job loss.

The Court May Base the Parent’s Child Support Obligation on “Potential Income”

Typically, a parent’s net income is used to calculate his or her child support obligation. However, the court may choose to use the parent’s “potential income” instead of his or her actual income in some situations. Potential income is calculated based on the parent’s education, job skills, and employment history. If a parent’s work history does not provide enough information to determine his or her potential income, the parent’s potential income is set to 75 percent of the current poverty level. This income is then used to calculate the parent’s child support obligation.

Contact an Arlington Heights Child Support Lawyer

By law, parents are expected to support their children financially. If you are not receiving the child support you need, contact an Illinois child support attorney at A. Traub & Associates for help. Call us at 847-749-4182 for a confidential consultation.



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