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Kevin O'Flaherty

Is a parent who pays child support required to notify the recipient of changes in employment or income in Illinois? Legally, unless your child support arrangement explicitly demands it, you are not automatically obliged to do so. However, significant changes can prompt a need to review your child support obligations. This article will walk you through the circumstances that necessitate notification, the potential legal repercussions of non-disclosure, and how to navigate adjustments to your child support in light of changes to your financial circumstances.

Navigating Child Support and Employment Changes in Illinois

It’s important to recognize that child support orders are set at specific amounts and will not change on their own if there is a shift in the employment status of the parent responsible for making payments. There isn’t an automatic process that modifies child support obligations when changes occur in the income or job situation of the paying parent. Consequently, it falls upon that parent to seek adjustments to their existing child support order should they encounter notable shifts in either financial circumstances or employment status which could influence their ability to make regular child support payments.

When should you then communicate with the other parent about such developments, especially when considering how a new job might affect your capacity to fulfill your established payment schedule? What potential consequences arise from failing to alert appropriate parties regarding these modifications?

Duty to Disclose: When Must You Inform the Other Parent?

In the state of Illinois, unless specified by the child support order or settlement agreement, a parent tasked with providing child support is not usually mandated to relay changes in their employment situation or income levels to the other parent. Nevertheless, certain circumstances warrant an adjustment to existing child support terms.

Should there be substantial alterations such as a job loss or reduction in earnings, these are pivotal events that may necessitate informing the other parent about one’s new financial standing—this holds true particularly if stipulated by the original support order. It’s crucial for an ex-husband who pays child support to thoroughly examine his legal responsibilities regarding updates related to job status and any shifts in income.

What Happens If You Don't Notify?

If a parent does not disclose changes in their job or an increase in income, they may accumulate debt under the existing child support order. In Illinois, if child support payments are more than 30 days late, interest accrues at an annual rate of 9%. To enforce payment compliance when there is non-disclosure of income alterations, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services might take measures such as:

  • seizure of wages
  • capture of tax refunds
  • revocation or suspension licenses required for professional practice
  • adverse credit reporting related to unreported income shifts

Failing to communicate substantial modifications either to the court or to the other parent can lead to being barred from modifying your current child support order while still having a duty for consistent maintenance without any missed payments. It’s clear that disregarding one’s responsibility by omitting significant updates can have severe consequences.

How Are Child Support Amounts Determined in Illinois?

In Illinois, the amount of child support is determined by first using economic tables to determine the total amount of money that should be allocated per month for the child’s care between both parents.  This total is then divided among the parents based on their net incomes relative to one another.  This means that the more the obligor makes, the more he or she will tend to pay.  However, this also means that the more the recipient makes, the less he or she will tend to receive.  The bottom line for the purposes of our discussion is that the income of both parents is the key factor in determining the amount that will be awarded in child support.  

For much more on Illinois Child Support Law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.

Do Illinois Child Support Payments Change When a Parent Changes Employment?

Child support payments can be modified by either parent whenever there is a “substantial change in circumstances.”  A significant increase or decrease in either the obligor or the recipient’s income qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances which can lead to a change in the amount of child support.  

However, the amount of the required child support payments do not automatically change when a party’s income changes.  Nor can the parents change the amounts outside of court by self-help or agreement.  In order to modify the amount of child support based on changed circumstances, one of the parties must file a motion to modify the child support order with the court.  

To learn more about child support modification, check out our article: Illinois Child Support Modification Explained.  

Is a Parent Who Pays Child Support Required to Notify the Recipient of a Change in Employment or Income?

A parent who is paying child support is generally not required to notify the other parent when his or her income or employment changes unless the court explicitly required him or her to do so in the child support order or unless the parties’ settlement agreement contains this requirement.  

If your case does not require notice but you believe the other party’s income has changed significantly, you can work with your attorney to obtain this information through the court’s discovery process.  

If your child support payments are being managed through the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) you can request a review of each party’s income and the child support amount every three years.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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