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What should I do if I cannot pay my child support?

Child support is a court-ordered obligation. The idea is that you are helping to pay for your children’s needs. Support orders in Illinois are made with a careful examination of your financial situation and that of your child’s other parent, along with the needs of your children. Sometimes, though, situations change, and you may find yourself at a point where you simply cannot afford to pay your child support.

If you fail to pay your support, it will accumulate a balance that you will owe. These arrears can then be taken from any wages you earn, including unemployment, or through seizure of any tax refunds. Any bank accounts you have in your name may also be garnished for the amount owed. You may have liens placed upon any assets you own, like a house. If you still fail to pay, your assets may be sold to satisfy the arrears. You also could face other issues, like losing your driver’s license or passport, or even being put in jail.

It is important to remember that you cannot get out of your obligation. It does not matter if you have lost your job or if you are incarcerated. You will always be responsible for paying support until the court ordered date of termination. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, you have the right to request an adjustment to the amount of child support you pay every 36 months. In some situations, you may be able to request a change sooner if there has been a major change in income. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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