Unemployed Child Support: Getting Paid When Your Ex Isn’t Working
In Illinois, a divorce is not the end of the road, but a new beginning that can help you get back on your feet after, say, from an unhappy or loveless marriage. However, the experience can quickly become a nightmare if your ex-spouse refuses or cannot pay child support due to unemployment. You can make unemployed child support claims in court or try and work out a new maintenance deal with your ex.
What You Can Do In Case Your Spouse Fails To Make Support Payments
If you are not getting maintenance payments, check with your spouse before looking for child support lawyers in Schaumburg. If they lost their job or cannot find lucrative employment that can cover said payments or sustained injuries that prevent them from holding a job, you can try to work out an agreement that reduces the payment amount until your spouse returns to work.
However, in this case, you should still make sure that your spouse knows you are prepared to go to court if the payments stop indefinitely. Your leniency should not encourage your ex to reduce or stop child support.
Consider hiring one of the experienced child support lawyers in Schaumburg to draft an agreement that works for you and gives your ex enough time to get a job or heal from injuries. They can ensure that your and your family’s rights are protected.
What If The Ex-Spouse Is Voluntarily Unemployed?
If your ex-spouse refuses to get a job out of spite and thus cannot make payments, there are a few things you can do. First, you should ask them to look for employment and maintain a job diary proving their efforts. In this case, the ex-spouse should be required to apply to a specific number of jobs per week and provide proof in the form of a written document to be presented once a month in court.
Besides this, the court can also impute income to your unemployed spouse. This type of income is credited to a parent even if they are not earning that amount from a job. An imputed income allows the court to ensure the child’s needs are met. It also discourages parents from reducing their responsibilities.
So, for example, if the unemployed parent (who is paying support) was earning $70,000 a year but claims poverty because they lost the job or cannot find jobs that can afford their salary, the judge will naturally want to know what caused their drastic change in circumstances. In this case, the other parent will have the opportunity to show the court that their ex is being dishonest about their income or acting in bad faith to avoid payments.
After evaluating both party’s claims, if the judge determines that the paying parent’s reasons for non-payments are unsatisfactory, they may impute income to the unemployed/non-paying parent.
In this case, it is important to understand that even if the recipient parent claims that their ex was voluntarily unemployed, the court may not consider it.
The most important factor the court will consider before imputing income is the reason behind the unemployment. For example, if the parent lost their job because of circumstances out of their control (such as the Covid-19 pandemic or an injury) and cannot get imputed income immediately. In other words, the court will look at each case and the family’s circumstances before deciding.
Determine How Much Child Support Is Owed
Child support lawyers in Schaumburg will tell you that if you believe your ex is deliberately refusing to get a job to avoid child support payments, you should take action fast. It would be best if you first determined how much child support is owed by comparing your records with those provided by the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU).
The SDU can provide a list of the child support payments that have been paid and the owed amount. You can get the records from the circuit clerk’s office if the payments are made through it. If you received direct payments, make sure you have evidence supporting your claim.
File Contempt Proceedings
If your ex refuses to get a job to pay for child support, you can file contempt proceedings against them. Experienced child support lawyers in Schaumburg can help you draft an accurate motion to hold your ex in contempt of court for refusing to make payments.
For a first offense, the judge may rule that your ex has to pay the owed balance as well as any penalties that apply to their case. If they fail to make payments repeatedly, they can go to jail.
In most cases, exes pay up outstanding balances to avoid prison. However, contempt of court can also allow you to have their custody and visitation rights reduced by altering your original divorce order.
You can also ask the court to withhold your ex’s income if they get a job to make child support payments. With a withholding order, you will get payments from their paycheck directly and immediately. This is an efficient method to get child support payments from employed spouses, but it also gives you relief because you will get what you are owed and need to take care of your children.
However, you may not be able to file a contempt of court claim if your ex claims they cannot make payments because they cannot get a job due to circumstances beyond their control. While this will not absolve them of their responsibilities, it can give them an ironclad defense against the ruling.
Filing a Writ of Execution
Your lawyer will help you determine if you should file a writ of execution for unemployed child support payments. If your ex cannot make payments because of unemployment, wage garnishment may not help you.
With a writ of execution, the court can freeze your ex’s bank accounts and other assets, provided you can prove they have money. In most cases, courts take this course of action if the paying ex owes substantial child support dues.
File for Child Support Payment Judgment Plus Interest
One of the best options you can use to resolve this issue is to ask the court to pass a ruling that makes your ex liable for outstanding child support payments along with legal fees. In this case, the court may also approve interest which will accrue for as long as they keep missing payments. If this judgment is passed, the court will also place a lien on your ex’s property. This way, even if your ex sells it off, you can receive the child support payments you are due from the actual sale.
Petition for Imprisonment for Failure to Pay Child Support
If your ex refuses to get a job even if they can do so and thus indirectly refuses to pay child support, you can ask the court to pass a jail sentence against them. However, this ruling is rare because jail time will prevent them from earning an income they can use to pay you.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
If you are neck-deep in unemployed child support dues and your ex cannot or refuses to make payments because of voluntary or involuntary unemployment, you can face financial issues. While you cannot file contempt proceedings or a motion for judgment if your ex is unemployed because of circumstances beyond their control, a lawyer can help you determine how you can get out of your situation and ensure your children’s rights are protected.
The solution may be simpler than you realize, and it can also involve modifications to the initial divorce decree. This can be the case if, say, your ex claims that the original divorce order failed to consider certain issues, which prevent them from making payments. Your lawyer can help you change the order without compromising your children’s best interests and their rights.
Contact The Law Office Of Fedor Kozlov For A Consultation Today
A divorce and even a separation can take a massive emotional and financial toll on a family. Besides forcing you to face challenges you have never overcome before, it can cause immense strain on your closest relationships. Add an unemployed ex into the mix who cannot make child support payments, and your financial situation can take a dive that you cannot afford.
At this point, you need a compassionate, experienced, and dedicated lawyer who can help you understand the legal options you can take to get the money you need to support your family. That is where The Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. comes in.
Our child support lawyers in Schaumburg have years of experience representing families like you and helping them resolve complex conflicts in and out of court. The legal team will also provide you with a solid foundation to start your new post-divorce life without stress. We are a group of hard-working and trustworthy attorneys who are experienced in providing custom solutions for unique and challenging divorce and child custody cases.
So if you are ready to talk, we are here to listen. Call (847) 241-1299 to book a consultation at our offices today.