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How Will My Ex’s Unemployment or Underemployment Affect Child Support?

 Posted on September 18, 2020 in Child Support

Wheaton child support attorneyIf you are a parent who relies on child support payments to cover the costs associated with your children’s housing, school and extracurricular activities, and child care, you know just how important this financial assistance is. When a paying parent or “obligor” fails to make child support payments in full and on time, this can lead to significant financial hardship. In many cases, child support non-payment is due to unemployment or underemployment. Read on to learn about how a parent’s employment status may influence the amount of child support they are required to pay.

Is the Obligor’s Employment Status Involuntary?

Illinois child support orders are calculated via the “Income Shares” model. The main factor in determining the amount of parents’ child support obligations is the net income each parent earns. If your child’s other parent is not working, working only part time, or earns a very low income, you may wonder how this will affect your child support order. 

To answer this question, the court must first determine whether a parent’s unemployment or underemployment is voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary unemployment or underemployment may qualify a parent for a lowered child support obligation. For example, if a parent has been laid off from their job due to no fault of their own, the amount they pay in child support may be reduced accordingly, although the court will likely require the parent to seek employment that will allow them to contribute toward their children’s needs. However, if a parent has quit his or her job, chooses to work limited hours, or lost his or her job but makes little effort to find gainful employment, this situation will likely be treated differently under Illinois law.  

Voluntary Unemployment or Underemployment

Some parents attempt to use unemployment or underemployment as an excuse for not contributing toward their child’s financial needs. If your child’s other parent is voluntarily unemployed or left a higher-earning position for a lower-earning position, the court may decide to calculate their child support obligation based on the potential income they could earn instead of their actual income. 

A parent’s potential income is determined using their employment history, qualifications, the relevant job opportunities available to them, and applicable other factors. If the parent does not have sufficient employment history, their potential income will be set at 75 percent of the current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines for a single-person household.

Contact a DuPage County Child Support Lawyer

If your child’s other parent is not paying their fair share of child support, contact The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. for help. Call our office at 630-462-9500 and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Wheaton family law attorneys today.



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