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How Illinois law addresses a support dispute for the unemployed

It sometimes happens that a person in Illinois who owes child support or spousal support finds him or herself unemployed for a period of time. This does not mean that the paying person will not have to keep up with the payments or that the receiving person will have to find other methods of support sans assistance from the former spouse. There are numerous ways in which the court will try to deal with this situation. The circumstances will dictate how it is handled, but the individual paying support, as well as the individual receiving support, must be aware of the way this is dealt with.

When there is a proceeding to determine how much the support will be or a hearing regarding enforcement and the supporting person is unemployed, the court can take action. It can order the person to seek employment and issue a periodic report to the court about the efforts. It can also order the person to seek job search assistance through the Department of Employment Security, apply with the Job Training Partnership Act for help with seeking work, receiving training or taking part on a work program.

If there is a supporting parent who is past due on the support payments for a child or the child and a parent with whom the child resides, and the child receives assistance under the Illinois Public Aid Code, there will be an order from the court from a request of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. It will ask that the support be paid as per the plan that the court approved. If the person who is supposed to be paying is unemployed, is obligated to pay according to the plan and is not incapacitated, her or she must take part in a job search, work program or training based on the Illinois Public Act Code.

For some people paying any form of can be complicated by issues with losing a job or seeking work. The law accounts for this and tries to avoid any family legal issues arising to make the situation worse by helping the paying person to deal with the situation. If there is a dispute with making payments due to unemployment or there is an enforcement proceeding taking place, speaking to a legal professional can provide guidance in addressing the case.

Source: ilga.gov, “Non-Support Punishment Act -- Sec. 60. Unemployed persons owing duty of support,” accessed on May 16, 2016

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