I bet a lot of guys out there don’t think this is possible, yeah? Sitting around Chicagoland family law courtrooms you definitely see a more child support increases than you do decreases, FACT. Of course some of that fact is simply the reality that a normal career/income trajectory is that as someone is older, more experienced, more senior in a job…her/his income goes up & thus child support goes up too.
But, it can go down too. Let me deconstruct how we recently lowered a guy’s child support and actually got his ex-wife paying HIM child support.
- Father’s Income Had Decreased & Mother’s Income Had Increased. Under Illinois law both parents’ incomes are used to calculate child support. Both parties will have to produce evidence of their income via paystubs, financial affidavit, and 2-years of tax returns. In the case we had the Mother worked in government and had steady raises over 5-7 years and her income was some 25% higher than when the last support order was entered. The Father was in the private sector and had worked consistently over the last 5-7 years but had changed jobs a number of times and his income had decreased some 10% over the same time period.
- Was the Income Reduction Voluntary to Avoid Child Support?
IL law disfavors a child support payor from voluntary reducing her/his income. The “why” a person’s income went down matters a lot. In the case I’m discussing, the guy’s income reduction was voluntary in the sense that he wasn’t fired by an employer. But, the evidence presented was that his employer had been bought-out by another company, jobs were getting cut, and he acted smartly in leaving when he did. Plus he’d been very active in seeking opportunities over recent years, but, the fact remained that his income was 10% lower than when the last child support order was entered. The most common/easy way that court’s evaluate the “voluntary” reduction is…does the individual get unemployment compensation? Because if you lose a job that wasn’t your fault you get unemployment for 6-months (or until you get a new job).
- Are You current on Child Support (at time you file to lower it)? The guy in my case had faithfully paid child support for some 5-years although he’d had the income reduction. We did not file for child support the day after he changed jobs 5-years ago. This made him very credible and said to a Court…I didn’t reduce income to merely lower child support. Too often I see people who haven’t paid child support consistently and now are asking to further lower their child support and there’s a credibility problem in those cases.
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