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Changing jobs to reduce child support? Not so fast!

by Attorney Alexis Simmons

In Illinois, child support may be modified upon a substantial change in circumstances. Easy, right? You can just quit your job and and get a new, lower paying job, and just like that, your support will be lowered. Well, it's not that easy.

First, you need to file your Motion to Modify Child Support as soon as possible. Child support does not change automatically. When you quit or lose your job, even with no income, child support will continue to accrue. Not only that, but you will potentially owe interest on back child-support if it's unpaid for long enough.

So if everyone agrees that you weren't trying to avoid child support by changing jobs, there shouldn't be a problem. But the issue lies in one party asking the Court to impute income from a prior job. That means that if you go from being the CEO of a company to driving for Uber, the other parent is going to ask the Judge to impute income to you. In other words, the Judge might set child support based on your old CEO level income, instead of your new Uber driver income.

There are three primary factors to consider in determining whether income should be imputed to a person paying child support. In order to impute income, a court must find that one of the following factors applies: (1) the payor is voluntarily unemployed; (2) the payor is attempting to evade a support obligation or (3) the payor has unreasonably failed to take advantage of an employment opportunity. Economic reversals as a result of change in employment or bad investments, if made in good faith, may constitute a material change in circumstances sufficient to warrant modification of a child support order.

In the case In re Marriage of Gosney, 394 Ill. App. 3d 1073, 1077 (3d Dist. 2009), the appellate court reversed the trial court’s imputation of income to a child support payor, as it found that none of the three factors applied. First, the court found that the payor was not voluntarily unemployed because he was pushed out of his company and later found another job. Second, the Court found there was no evidence of the payor attempting to evade support because he searched for new employment right away and continued to pay support as ordered. Third, the Court found there was no unreasonable failure to take advantage of an employment opportunity because there were no comparable jobs available to the payor at a similar income level as his previous job.

So if you are paying child support and thinking about a job change, make sure you find the right lawyer who can advise you before you quit your well paying job to be the next TikTok star. Call now for a consultation or schedule through our website.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. It should not be construed as legal advice nor is it a substitute for legal counsel. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information provided in this post without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from a lawyer licensed in your state, country, or other jurisdiction.


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