What can you do if your ex suddenly stops paying child support or is falling behind on spousal support payments? What about if your ex refuses to honor the terms in the parenting time plan? When this happens, you may have a couple of options in the state of Illinois. You may choose to enforce your existing divorce judgment or request a modification.
After a divorce, you and your ex-spouse must follow the court order. This includes paying support payments, separating property, and following the outline of the parenting plan. If your ex does not follow the court order, you can file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause in Illinois. This petition asks the court to help enforce the court document. You can also request a modification of a divorce judgment if the original judgment no longer works for you and your child.
There are requirements you must meet before being able to request a modification or enforcement. That is why it is best to work with an experienced Barrington divorce attorney throughout. Your attorney can help you enforce or chance an existing divorce judgment and protect your rights along the way.
Enforcing a Divorce Judgment
If your ex is not upholding their end of the agreement, you can petition the court for them to show cause. You only have to show that your ex is failing to comply with the existing court order. If the child support is paid through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit, they will be able to provide you with evidence of all non-payment. Your ex must then show why they failed to comply with the divorce judgment. If the judge finds that your ex failed to comply without reasonable cause, they will find them in contempt of court.
Section 508(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows you to collect the outstanding costs, as well as your attorney fees if the courts find that your ex is without reasonable cause for failing to comply with the court agreement. To collect these payments, the court may seize tax returns, passports, and other professional licenses. They can also garnish their wages or have them serve time in jail.
Modification of a Divorce Judgment
Under Illinois law, any order for support is eligible for modification review every three years. You can also request a modification to your divorce judgment prior to this if there is a significant change. You cannot simply change the divorce agreement because you no longer like it. Unless you and your ex-spouse agree, you must have specific reasons to request a modification.
If you request a modification of your divorce judgment under Illinois law, you must show that a substantial change of circumstances occurred. This relates specifically to terms, such as child support, spousal support maintenance, parenting time, or custody. Some of the reasons you may request a modification include, but are not limited to:
- Reduction of your income
- Substantial change in your ex-spouse’s income
- Children’s needs have changed
- Moving to another state
- Change in parental responsibilities
The courts will only allow modification of existing divorce judgments when they are still in the best interests of the children. Any modification that is not in the best interests of the children will not be considered. Your attorney will need to show that your request to modify is in the best interests of the children, takes their needs into consideration, and is due to legitimate reasons. For example, if you are underemployed by choice, you cannot pay less support or maintenance.
Getting an existing divorce judgment changed is not easy. Yet, with an experienced Barrington divorce lawyer on your side, you have a higher chance of success. Your attorney can make sure you do not miss any deadlines and that you file the proper forms. In addition, your attorney can help protect your rights every step of the way and advocate for you and your children.
Contact Our Barrington Divorce Attorneys
If you are considering a modification of a divorce in Illinois, or you need to enforce an existing judgment, we can help. It is important to have someone on your side to protect your rights and your future during this time. The Manassa Divorce + Family Law Group at Kelleher + Holland, LLC can help you make any changes to your existing judgment; we can get the courts to enforce an existing judgment.
To learn more about divorce, child custody, or parental rights, contact us immediately. Call (866) 390-0672 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate Barrington divorce lawyers. We are proud to serve clients at our North Barrington, Waukegan, and Hinsdale offices. Call today!