How and when is child support modifiable?

Child support is modifiable whenever there is a substantial change in circumstances.  This is a very, very wide array of scenarios in which child support may be modified.  First, child support, generally, is modifiable in nature.  The support amount order is not typically “locked in” for the life of the minor child. The person who is paying support could earn a raise, or lose their job, and so they must be able to modify their support obligation accordingly.  Conversely, children have ever changing needs and expenses, and sometimes they require more support from an obligor, and in such a scenario, support is modifiable.  For example, a baby might not require the same support as a teenager who is involved in extra-curricular activities and eats more food.  Children tend to have more expenses as they get older.
Additionally, the change in circumstances must be “substantial”.  Thus, a very nominal increase in needs of the child, or in the obligor’s pay, likely won’t cut it.  A substantial increase in pay of the obligor or in the needs of the child is justifiable.  Judges differ on what a “substantial” change constitutes.  The change also doesn’t have to be monetary, necessarily, on the part of the obligor.  For example, the obligor doesn’t have to have a raise in order for the support to need an increase.  The minor child having increased expenses might be a substantial change in circumstances, whilst the obligor’s pay has remained the same.  Whether or not support will be modified is entirely up to the discretion of any given Judge under the purview of the relevant sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

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