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Kane County family law attorneyAs a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, you undoubtedly understand the importance of providing financial support for your child, particularly if you have not been granted primary residential parental responsibilities. Of course, there is much more to being a parent than paying child support, but when you are having trouble making your obligated payments, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take when meeting your obligations becomes impossible, and an experienced family lawyer can help.

Requesting a Modification

Child support orders in Illinois are generally based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children being supported. Therefore, if your income or ability to generate income changes substantially, you can request a modification to your support order. You will need to show that there has been a significant change in your circumstances, but if the court approves your request, your order can be amended to reflect your current situation.

child support, Geneva child support attorneyUnder Illinois law, a supporting parent is usually required to pay at least 20 percent of their net income to their former spouse to support a child, a percentage that only goes up with each additional child to be supported. The exact percentage of child support that must be paid should be recorded in the divorce decree. In many cases, however, supporting parents are unable to make these payments because of changing financial circumstances, or are unwilling to meet their obligations for some other reason. If this has arisen in your situation, you do not have to accept your former spouse’s noncompliance with the court order. You can take him or her to court and require that they show cause as to why they are not paying child support.

Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause

A petition for rule to show cause is a motion filed with the court after it has entered an order directing one or both parties to do something. In a petition for rule to show cause, the petitioner asks the court to have the other party come before it and explain why they are not following the court order. As applied to child support proceedings, this means making your former spouse appear before the judge to explain why they are not making child support payments.

parenting time, child support, kane county family law attorneyIn a large number of Illinois divorce cases involving parents, one is designated the primary residential parent for the purposes of school enrollment and child support. Most such situations result in the other parent being ordered to make child support payments. An arrangement like this may be fairly equitable for parents with drastically uneven amounts of parenting time, including cases in which a non-primary residential parent who only gets parenting time once or twice per month.  However, many other co-parenting arrangements are much more even, and in some cases, may be 50/50. For a non-primary residential parent in such a situation, he or she may try to negotiate lower child support payments.

Under the Law

According to the letter of the state law regarding child support, a court’s decision regarding support does not include explicit consideration for parenting time. Instead, the supporting parent’s income and the number of children are the primary considerations, while the needs of the child, the needs of each parent, and their available resources may be subjectively taken into account as well. When strictly applied, it may seem nearly impossible for a parent to show that parenting time should impact his or her child support payments.

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