As this year draws to a close, Illinois residents and people throughout the world are no doubt looking forward to a healthier and happier new year. The coronavirus pandemic changed our way of life in 2020, and we all did our best to adjust to a “new normal.” In a concerted effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus, federal, state, and local officials issued orders to limit in-person gatherings and require that face masks be worn indoors. Many non-essential Illinois businesses were closed, and those that were allowed to stay open have reduced their staff and hours of operation. As a result, numerous individuals lost their jobs and filed for unemployment over the past nine months. This economic downturn has led some parents who are divorced or who were never married to worry about how they are going to pay their bills, including meeting their child support obligations.
Illinois Child Support Laws
There are many issues that need to be addressed in a divorce when children are involved, and unmarried parents may also need to consider these matters when they break up. If a couple cannot come to an agreement on certain matters, the court becomes involved. A judge will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children. Under Illinois law, child support orders are based on a formula that includes both parents’ net incomes. This is referred to as the Income Shares model, and it is meant to ensure that both parents contribute toward the costs of raising their children.
Circumstances That Warrant a Child Support Order Modification
Once a child support order is issued in an Illinois divorce or child custody case, the payment amount may be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if a parent’s earning ability or a child’s financial needs have changed, that could be reason to request a modification.