Life Changes and Child Support Order Modification

At any given time in the state of Illinois, nearly half a million child support cases are in effect, supporting more than 510,000 children. Nearly $290 million is collected annually as a result of such orders, and if you have children with your ex-spouse or ex-partner, some of that money supported your child.

Those who pay child support in Illinois, generally have a good idea of how the order was initially determined. Under state law, the court is provided guidelines for the calculation of support, based primarily on the income of the supporting party, usually the non-custodial parent. Other circumstantial factors related to income, assets, and needs are considered in the process and may affect the resulting order at the discretion of the court.

Once put into effect, an order for child support remains in force until it is modified or terminated by some action of the court or precipitating circumstance. Precipitating circumstances, such as the child’s adoption by a stepparent, the child’s emancipation or marriage, among others, will likely require a separate action of the court as well. A child support order modification, however, can be considered by the court whenever it is deemed necessary.

Pursuing a Modification

Parents seeking a child support order modification may utilize the services of state agencies, such as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services, or may petition the court directly. In order for the court to modify an existing support arrangement, the filing parent must be show:

  • Evidence of a substantial change in personal or family circumstances; or
  • A need for health insurance or other means to provide for the child’s healthcare requirements.

There are a variety of situations that may constitute a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of child support. Common examples may include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of a job or significant reduction in income by either parent;
  • Significant inheritance or increase in income by either parent;
  • A severe illness, injury, or other condition affecting the child or either parent;
  • Marriage or remarriage of either parent, and inherent legal responsibilities;
  • The establishment of child support orders for additional children; and
  • The child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes last.

Once the appropriate supporting documentation and information has been provided to the court, the court will make a new determination for the support order. The modification will be applied, as appropriate to the order, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the child and the requirements set forth by law.

If you are paying child support in Illinois and have experienced a life change that has affected your ability to meet your obligations, you cannot afford to wait. Delinquent child support can result in collection activities and may even result in criminal prosecution. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Will County today and get the help you need from a law firm that understands your situation.