Sometimes Modifying a Divorce Decree is Necessary or Warranted
Lives change from day to day, month to month, and year to year. Often, what was good or beneficial at one point in life no longer holds the same significance later. Circumstances occasionally arise in which a divorce decree needs to be modified in order to better comport with current living situations.
An order for child support can be modified upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances. If there is no substantial change in circumstances, then the party receiving the benefits must demonstrate an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount as determined by the guidelines set forth in 750 ILCS 5, Section 505, unless that inconsistency is the result of a deviation from the guideline amount. This provision, however, only applies if a party is receiving child support enforcement services, and only if at least 36 months have elapsed since the order or last modification. There may also be a modification without showing a substantial change in circumstances, if a need can be shown to provide for the needs of the child’s health care through health insurance or other means.
An order for maintenance may only be modified or terminated upon the showing of a substantial change in circumstances. When maintenance support is being reviewed, the court will consider factors set forth in 750 ILCS 5, Section 504(a) and several additional factors, including:
- A good faith change in employment status by either party;
- The efforts of the receiving party to become self-supporting;
- Present and future earnings impairment by either party;
- The tax consequences of the maintenance payments on either party;
- The duration of previously made and remaining maintenance payments relative to the length of the marriage;
- The property awarded to each party under the judgment of dissolution of marriage;
- The increase or decrease in either party’s income;
- The property currently owned or acquired by each party; and
- Any other factors the Court finds to be just and equitable.
The above represent a quick synopsis of the modification and termination provisions as set forth in the statute. There are additional provisions concerning modification or termination and there is no substitute for the knowledge and understanding that a qualified attorney can provide. Seek legal help if you feel that any of these circumstances apply to you.
If you or someone you know has had a change in their living situation which may warrant a post-decree divorce modification, an experienced Illinois divorce and family law attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and seek the modification you need. Contact Nicholas W. Richardson at his namesake law office for help in Palatine and throughout Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs.