“Can I quit my job so I don’t have to pay child support?” and Other Child Support Information

Many people who find themselves in a position where they will have to pay child support try to avoid their obligations, for whatever reason. The most common question I hear is “what if I quit my job?” As clever as this may sound, Judges are totally on to this. In fact, there is a whole string of authority in Illinois that says that a Judge is well within his right to impute income on to someone who voluntarily remains unemployed or quits there job. This means that the Court can assume that the person earns the same amount of money that they earned while they were still working, and can force the person to pay child support as if they still earned that same amount of money. So, if the person paid $850 per month in child support while they were employed, the Court can force them to continue to pay that amount if they voluntarily cease employment or voluntarily remain unemployed.

Even when someone is unemployed legitimately, without any choice in the matter, they will likely have to pay child support. The court will set a minimum amount of child support for non-working parties to pay, because even if they aren’t working, the court understands that their children need to eat.

Another common child support related question that I hear is “what can be done if the other parent is not spending the child support money on child related expenses?” The Court is not going to make a person receiving child support account for all of the child support they receive to ensure it is spent on the child. There is authority in Illinois that prohibits a court from doing this. However, it is a good idea to keep in mind that child support should not be going just to the child’s specific expenses. The child support can pay a portion of the rent or mortgage for the home where the child resides, or for a portion of the gas or electric bill where the child resides, or for a portion of the gas to transport the child to and from school, activities, and the like. Child support, though it may seem high, in most scenarios, is not nearly what the receiving party spends on a minor child each month. Both parties in Illinois have an obligation to provide for their minor children.

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