Good Faith and Order Modifications
When a couple gets divorced, it is not uncommon for the pair to remain financially connected in some way for a period of time—sometimes a significant period—following the end of the marriage. For some, the connection may be in the form of agreed-upon or ordered spousal maintenance. For divorced parents, an order requiring the parent with less parenting time to make child support payments is highly probable. In certain cases, both spousal maintenance and child support orders may be needed. Over time, these financial obligations may need to be revisited as a situations and family needs continue to change. Of course, economic resources are a major factor in proceedings to modify an existing order. There is, however, another important consideration; a party is expected, at all times, to make good faith efforts toward meeting his or financial obligations.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that an order for spousal maintenance or child support can be modified “upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.” This means that something major has developed in the family’s situation that needs to be addressed. Common examples of a substantial change in circumstances include a dramatic increase in the child’s or recipient spouse’s needs, a significant change in the payor party’s income, job loss, injury, or illness.
Contrary to what you may think, the family court system is not “out to get anyone.” Family courts, instead, are tasked with helping those in need get the financial support they deserve when appropriate. This is where the concept of good faith matters most. If you are a paying child support, for example, and you suddenly lose your job, it would certainly seem that you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances. How you lost your job, however, and whether you are actively looking for new employment may prove—or disprove—that you are acting in good faith. If you lost your job due to a layoff and are out looking for a new place to work every day, a court will be much more likely to rule in your favor. Conversely, if you were fired for absenteeism or gross misconduct, and you have shown little interest in finding a new job, your case for a modification could be severely hampered by your lack of good faith efforts.
Let Us Help
When you have questions about the modification of spousal maintenance or child support orders, we are ready to provide the answers. Contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney to schedule your introductory consultation today. Our knowledgeable team will work with you in exploring your options and will help you protect your rights at every stage of the process. Call 630-232-9700 and get the high-quality representation you deserve.