Loss of Employment During the Coronavirus - COVID-19 Epidemic

As the unemployment numbers begin to roll in, the picture is pretty sad. The drastic downturn in the economy caused by the Corona virus (COVID-19) has caused massive lay-offs and job losses – particularly in the food service, travel and hotel industries. If you or someone you love has obligations to pay child support or spousal maintenance, it incredibly important to file a motion to reduce the child support or maintenance as soon as possible. The reason for this is that child support cannot be reduced prior to the date you file a motion. The good news with that is the actual filing of the motion should cover you even though there will be lots of delays with getting your case in front of a judge. Courthouses are running on very limited basis right now and most are only open for true emergencies. Financial matters such as a job loss are not emergencies ifor the time being.

There is also good news that with electronic filing (e-filing) across the state, you can file your motion from the comfort of your home. To do this, search the website of the Clerk of the Court for the County you live in and look for links to follow that guide you through the process.

Cook County:                   http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/
DuPage County:               https://www.dupageco.org/courtclerk/
Will County:                    https://www.circuitclerkofwillcounty.com/
Kane County:                   http://cic.countyofkane.org/
Grundy County:                https://www.grundyco.org/circuit-clerk/

What to do:

     1) FILE A MOTION and NOTICE OF MOTION. You need to file a Motion to tell the judge what you want and a Notice of Motion to tell the other parent you have filed a motion and what date it is set. What do you put in a motion once you find out how to file your documents? If you cannot afford an attorney to assist you, then the basics of a Motion to Reduce are telling the judge what happened and what you want. Some suggestions are:
  • Tell the judge what the current order is and when it was started
  • State what happened to your job
  • Use the words “substantial change in circumstances” somewhere in the motion when describing what happened

     2) FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT. File as soon as possible and make sure any dependent benefits are paid to at least partially pay the child support order

     3) LOOK FOR A NEW JOB. Even if the job market looks bad right now, keep looking because the judge one day be asking what you have doiung to get a new job.

     4) PAY WHAT YOU CAN. Have some income coming in? The you should pay at least something. It shows the judge you are trying. For someone paying nothing, its sometimes hard to defend that unless the person can show they were truly out of money.

What not to do

     1) Don’t wait to file a motion. Remember, you cant get things changed back before the day you file a motion.

     2)   Don’t make deals outside of court. The setting of support is a judge’s job, not just something that can be agreed away. So even if the other parent says its ok not to pay, it isn’t without a judge’s approval.

     3) Don’t blow off court. Once you can finally get a court date, make sure you show up WITH documents like unemployment compensation  information and/or a job search record or a final paycheck from the last job.

       4) Don’t listen to anyone that says the court will just be correcting this without you having to do anything. Something like that might happen but as of yet, I am not aware of any state-wide suspension of child support and I do not think we will see something like that.

If this is all too much, you can also hire an attorney to discuss your situation and handle the reduction. If your case is in Will County, you can call Anthony Andreano at (815) 954-8175

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