Child support is a right of any child in Illinois. The goal is to keep the child in the same position as they would have been if the parents had stayed together. Child support is calculated with a statutory equation that considers the income of parents, medical insurance, and parenting time. From that, they determine what award is appropriate.
Sometimes financial situations change, and the child support amount needs to be modified.
Modify Child Support in Illinois
You will first have to get your financial affidavit prepared, and then you can file a motion to motion to modify child support. There has to be a “substantial change in circumstances” which is different depending on which judge you get. Most time, the passage of time can be enough for a substantial change, especially as your child gets older. In your motion, detail out long it has been since the order was placed and detail the changes in circumstance. Some suggestions would be that the other party now makes more money, or you might be making less money.
Suppose it has been less than thirty days, and you notice the order has a typo. In that case, a modification can be requested immediately to correct the error in the order. After thirty days, the order with the error is binding.
After that time, a child support order can still be modified, only:
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances
- At least three years have passed since the last child support order was put in place.
- The previous order did not address healthcare coverage for the child; or
- A written request for a review is received by the Department of Child Support Services from the custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or another state.
What is considered a substantial change?
A substantial change is not fully defined by law. Still, several cases in Illinois have illuminated what does and does not count as a substantial change. One common example of a substantial change is a change in employment status. Another might be an illness that is keeping you from working. Each of these changes can be considered a substantial change in circumstance.
How long ago must the substantial change be?
All that matters is whether the change is substantial. If you received an order last month and today you learn that your job has been eliminated, then you have a substantial change. If you don’t file for the modification when you lose your job, you will owe the court-ordered amount, even though you are not working. Always file a motion to let the judge know about your change in circumstance. Once the child support is due, the money is owed to the other person whether you can afford it or not. Always be mindful that you have to follow the court’s order until it is changed.
How far back can I request child support?
Typically, the courts will modify child support from the date you file your petition. But under the Parentage Act, there is a statute that allows you to go back to the day the child was born. There are five requirements to meet under the statute to obtain child support back that far, so call us to see if your circumstances qualify for that type of child support.
I am no longer working. Is that a substantial change?
It depends on the reason why you are no longer working. Whether the change was voluntary or involuntary can make a difference in your case. If the change was involuntary, such as your employer decided to reduce his workforce, or your job was eliminated in some way, you are more likely to be able to modify your support amount. Sickness can also be considered a substantial change, if it affects your ability to earn an income. Sickness might also be a substantial change if the sickness requires expensive medical care.
If the change in employment is voluntary, and you quit your job, or you were fired because of some criminal activity, you may not be able to modify your support. The court will make a finding as to whether your substantial change is allowable depending on the circumstances in your case.
I got promoted. Is that a substantial change?
Promotions can be a substantial change in circumstances. Financial gains can affect child support in many different ways. For example, if the paying parent has an economic improvement, the support obligation will likely increase. Conversely, the award will likely decrease if the receiving parent has a financial gain.
I am now the custodial parent. Can I modify child support?
Yes. One factor in the child support calculation concerns the division of parenting time. So, if the division changes, a modification is possible.
My child is sick/disabled. Can I request a modification?
If the child has needs that have changed, and the guideline support award is not sufficient to meet those needs, then a deviation from guidelines can be granted. Deviations to child support can be an upward modification or be modified downward depending on the facts in your case.
I remarried and had a new child. Do I still have to pay the same amount in child support?
Having another child, it is often not enough to modify the child support award. However, the court will consider new financial responsibilities when reviewing the awards. There might be a substantial change if there is a high need for a new child or family, and you might ask the court to deviate your child support amount.
My child is eighteen years old. I no longer have to pay child support, right?
Responsibility for child support does not necessarily end when the child becomes an adult if your child is still in school. The law states that you have to pay child support until your child turns eighteen years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If you have any arrears at the time your child emancipates, then you will likely pay those arrears instead of support until that amount has been paid.
Ready to Modify Child Support in Chicago?
Schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago family law attorneys to see how our skilled legal team can help you modify child support or any other family law and divorce-related matters.