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November is officially Child Support Awareness Month in Cook County. The county indicated that of all the child support cases that exist within Illinois, 60 percent take place in Cook County.

Those with obligations to pay child support can face jail time if they fail to act as ordered by a family law court. Most child support order violations that result in arrest warrants involve the failure to pay. Arrest warrants may also be issued, however, for things such as failure to provide DNA samples or failure to report increases in income.

In Illinois, the amount of money a non-custodial parent must pay in child support is based on statutory guidelines. If a non-custodial parent has one child, for example, he or she must generally pay 20 percent of his or her income in child support. Those with two to five children will normally pay between 28 and 45 percent of their income. The maximum statutorily suggested child support payment is 50 percent. However, these percentages are not absolute and a family court judge may alter them.

To obtain an increase or decrease in child support payments, and have this approved by a judge, there must be a substantial change in circumstances. Factors that can result in modification of child support orders include any significant changes in the financial needs of the children or the receiving parent, or a significant change in the income of the paying parent. A change of custody or a child turning 18 years old can also justify adjusting child support payments.

Securing a court order to alter child support payments can be a complicated process. It is often beneficial to consult an attorney in order to modify or enforce a child support order, especially in cases where the parents do not reside in the same state.

Source: Tinley Park Patch, “Wanted for Child Support Delinquency, Nov. 9,” Lauren Traut, Nov. 9, 2012