modify child support amount

Is There Always a Basis to Modify Child Support?

To modify child support in Illinois, the law has long required that there be a “substantial change in circumstances”. A substantial change in circumstances is defined, somewhat, by the statute, and it may include:

  • a decrease in income,
  • no-fault job loss,
  • an increase in income, and
  • many other factors.

It is also widely known that the Illinois child support law changed in July of 2017 to an income-sharing platform, which in many cases lowered child support when calculated using the new formula with the same income information the parties had under the last law.

Effect of the 2017 Change in Illinois Child Support Law

As a result, many parties have tried to modify their child support, filing their pleading based upon a substantial change in circumstances, such as their income increasing, in hopes that their support would fall under the new statute and that, while their income increased, their support obligation would decrease. This is not the purpose for which the statute was designed.

Judges Are Treat Each Child Support Case Differently

Different Judges are treating these cases differently. Some are flat out denying the motions, stating that the pleadings are being filed for an improper purpose. While I have not seen 137 Sanctions ordered based upon any of these filings, it seems that it could open the door for sanctions if the pleading is found to be filed for an improper purpose.

Some Child Support Amounts Could Increase Instead of Decrease

Some Judges are granting the motions and lowering the child support amounts, however, they are deviating child support upwards to reflect an amount similar to what child support would have been under the old support statute. The rationale here is that the minor child(ren) are used to a certain amount of support and have the same needs, so they will deviate the support upwards to make sure their needs are met. This is wholly proper and allowed under the statute in Illinois as well.

If Your Income Increases You Can File to Modify Child Support

In sum, yes, one can file a motion to modify child support under the new statute if their income has increased. Under the old statute, usually, the obligee would file for this because it would increase the support obligation. Under the new law, we are seeing the obligor’s filing for this to try and reduce their support obligation. But, in my experience, many Judges are not buying into this argument.

Modifying child support is not as easy as many think. There are factors that need to be looked at carefully and all potential outcomes should be considered. Contact Anderson & Boback today to speak with our experienced child support attorneys and determine if you should seek to modify child support.

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