How to Modify Child Support in Illinois
Child support is a relevant issue in any divorce that involves children under the age of 18. Once a judge issues an order for child support, that order is legally binding. If child support is not paid, the courts may find the non-paying parent in contempt of court. There are times, however, when a parent has a problem paying their child support payments. In these instances, is it possible to modify a child support order? It is possible, but it is not always easy.
Determining Child Support Payments
In Illinois, child support is calculated based on the Illinois child support guidelines which have undergone major changes in the last few years. Child support was once determined by solely looking at the non-custodial parent’s income, with no regard for the income of the custodial parent.
This has changed, with Illinois moving to an income shares model. Under these guidelines, a judge will consider the income of both parents, along with the cost of living and how many children the couple has together. Based on these factors, the courts hold each parent responsible for child support based on their income.
The new law is intended to allow children to continue enjoying the standard of living they had before the divorce. However, sometimes circumstances change. The courts understand this, which is why it is possible to modify child support payments. Parents cannot simply agree to do this on their own, though.
Modifying Child Support
The parents must petition the court for a modification. That petition must prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances for at least one parent. The petition must also indicate the increase or decrease in child support being requested.
There are many reasons parents may wish to modify their child support order. The parent paying child support may have recently lost their job, or had a substantial change in income. A child’s needs can also change. They may have different educational needs than at the time of the divorce, or they may sustain an injury or contract an illness that requires extensive and expensive medical care. These are all valid reasons for modifying child support, as deemed by the courts.
While the court requires a petition to change child support, hearings are not always necessary. If both parents can agree on the new amount of child support and who will pay, filing the petition with the courts is often enough. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will schedule a hearing. During the hearing, a judge will take into consideration the substantial change in circumstances and make a ruling.
Contact a Palatine Family Lawyer for Help With Your Petition
When modifying child support in Illinois, there are procedures parents must follow. For help, call Schaumburg family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. at 847.873.6741. Attorney Richardson will help you every step of the way and help you prove why a modification is necessary. Call our office today for a free consultation.