When Can Child Support Be Increased or Decreased in Illinois?
Are you a divorced parent living in Illinois? If so, you may have questions about the child support that you pay or receive. Child support is meant to ensure that both parents contribute to the costs of raising a child after they have divorced or are no longer in a relationship with each other. However, as children grow, their needs can change, and parents' lives may change as well in the years following a divorce. In some cases, parents may believe that their child support payments should be adjusted to reflect these changes. For parents who are looking to see whether child support can be increased or decreased, it is important to understand how Illinois law addresses this issue.
When Can Child Support Be Modified?
In Illinois, either parent can request a modification to an existing child support order if there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances. Generally speaking, this means that either parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly since the original order was entered. This could include changes to either parent’s income due to a job loss or promotion. Issues that affect a parent's employment may also be considered, such as when a parent suffers a serious injury that has caused them to be disabled, making it impossible for them to work in positions that they had previously held and earn enough income to support themselves and also meet their child support obligations.
Changes to children's circumstances may also be significant enough to warrant modifications of child support. For example, a child may have been diagnosed with an illness or medical condition that requires ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy or speech therapy. To address the costs of this treatment, a parent may seek to have a child support order modified to ensure that the child's medical expenses will be divided between the parents correctly.
In some cases, child support modifications may be appropriate based on how child support would be calculated based on the current circumstances of the parents and the child. If a parent can show that the amount of child support payments calculated using the current guidelines in Illinois law would be at least 20 percent higher or lower than what is currently being paid, child support may be adjusted accordingly. This type of modification may be made even if there has not been a substantial change in circumstances.
To request a change in child support, a parent will need to file a petition in court seeking a modification. The court will consider both parents' incomes when determining whether it is appropriate to modify an existing child support order. If it determines that a modification is necessary, the court may make temporary or permanent adjustments to the amount of money that is paid.
When Will Child Support Modifications Be Denied?
Most of the time, a court will not modify an existing child support arrangement unless there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances since the original order was entered. This means that if neither parent has experienced any significant changes in their finances—for example, they are both still working at the same jobs without any significant raises or promotions—their current child support order will most likely remain in place. Additionally, a parent cannot voluntarily quit their job or accept a lower-paying position in order to reduce their child support payments. In these cases, a parent's obligations will be based on their "imputed" income, or the amount they should be able to earn based on their education and job experience, and they will likely be required to continue making the same payments as they had previously.
Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Support Lawyers
Understanding when a child support agreement can be modified is essential for divorced parents who want to ensure that they will be able to continue to meet their children's needs. If you believe your current child support order no longer meets your children’s needs, or if you have experienced changes to your income that may affect the amount that you pay or receive, an experienced DuPage County child support attorney at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can advise you of your options for requesting a modification from the court. To learn how we can help you address these issues, contact our firm at 630-909-9114 and set up a consultation today.