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Kane County family law attorneysWhen you are responsible for making child support payments, virtually every financial decision you make can affect your ability to meet your obligations. This is especially true if you are considering a job or a career change, as your income is very likely to change. While an increase in your income can be a good thing, a decrease could make it impossible for you to comply with your child support requirements. You may be able to petition the court for an order modification, but depending upon the circumstances of your employment, your request could be denied.

Illinois Law

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an order for child support may be amended upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Losing a job, starting a new one, a significant promotion or demotion, and a complete career change could all create a significant difference in your monthly and annual income. The law recognizes a change in employment status as one of the possible causes for a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of pursuing an order modification.

Good Faith

Everyone has made choices in their lives that have had a negative outcome, despite being made for the right reasons. Your intentions are an extremely important consideration when seeking a child support order modification, particularly if your income has decreased. If you simply walked away from a steady job with no current, realistic prospects, you are not likely to be granted relief. Similarly, if you were dismissed from your job for inappropriate or destructive behavior, or lack of production due to your own fault, your support obligation will probably not be reduced.

Kane County family law attorneyIf you are a divorced parent, you probably recognize your responsibility for helping to provide financially for your child. In most Illinois cases, the parent with fewer parental responsibilities and less parenting time is obligated to make child support payments to the other parent. While the law that dictates the calculation of such payments is set to change at the beginning of 2017, the current statute takes into account two primary factors: the number of children being supported and the net income of the supporting parent. But, what does net income include?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, net income is defined as the “total of all income from all sources” minus certain allowable deductions. By law, these deductions include:

  • Properly calculated federal taxes;
  • Properly calculated state taxes;
  • Social Security/FICA payments;
  • Retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment;
  • Union dues;
  • Premiums for health insurance;
  • Premiums for life insurance ordered by the court to secure child support payments;
  • Previous obligations for child support and spousal maintenance;
  • Obligations for maintenance as part of the current divorce proceedings; and
  • Expenditures required for the production of income, such as student loans.

In most cases, the calculation of net income is fairly straightforward. Most supporting parents generate income through hourly wages or a regular salary, and the deductions are relatively easy to determine. In other situations, however, things can become much more complex.

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