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When can a child support order in Illinois be modified?


As any parent knows, a child goes through many changes as he or she grows up. A three- year-old child is very different than a 17-year-old child. Over the years, parents change, as well, and circumstances change. For parents who are married, they must deal with the changes in order to figure out the best solution. However, there are many parents who are not married to the mother or father of their child and when circumstances change for them, the process of dealing with it is different.

Many times, parents who are not married have child custody and child support orders that govern their parenting and how they pay for the child's financial needs. These orders continue until they are modified, which does not automatically happen when the circumstances change. The parent seeking a modification must first file a motion with the court.

Once the motion is filed with the court, the parent seeking a modification of child support must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies the modification. A potential change in circumstances for the parent receiving the child support might include that parent earning substantially more money. It also could mean a change in the circumstances of the parent who is paying the support, such as the loss of a job, or changes in the child's needs. It also could mean a change in the healthcare coverage or the cost of the premiums for the child.

If the parents are receiving enforcement assistance from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, they also can seek a modification based on a change in circumstances. A modification may also be warranted if the current order is at least 20% different than if it is recalculated using the guidelines and the current circumstances of the parents.

Circumstances change for the parents and child throughout the course of a child's life. As such, child support orders may be modified to reflect the current circumstances. However, this post only provides general information and should not be used as legal advice. Experienced attorneys understand child support modification and may be able to guide one through the process.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "750 ICLS 5/510", accessed January 26, 2015

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