When family law judges determine child support, they are well aware this amount will need to change in the future. Parents’ incomes fluctuate and children grow up and have different needs. However, that does not make obtaining a child support modification less stressful. When your child support obligation becomes too much for you to handle or as the receiving parent, you are not getting enough, a modification is crucial. Whenever you need to return to court to alter a part of your child support arrangement, you should work with an experienced Chicago area family law attorney at Fay, Farrow & Associates to ensure everything is done the right way the first time and you walk into court with the best chance of success.
Reducing Child Support
To have your child support changed, you usually need to file an action in court. Next, as either the paying parent or recipient, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants an increase or decrease in the child support award. Many child support modifications are sought by paying parents who wish to have a lesser monthly payment.
What is a substantial change in circumstances? Illinois law does not expand on what this means, but your attorney can explain from experience and previous case law. When you are attempting to reduce your duty, substantial changes in circumstances can include:
- Job loss or a decrease in your net income
- Changes in your child’s needs
- Your child turning 18 and no longer attending high school
- Your child moving out of the recipient parent’s home
Increasing Child Support
You can also return to court when your need more support. If you ask the court for a higher amount, a substantial change in circumstances may include:
- The paying parent now has a higher net income
- Your child’s needs have changed
- Your child is going to college
There is also a second way to seek a modification. If you receive child support through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services enforcement services and the support was entered into or last modified at least 36 months ago, then you may ask for a modification upon showing that the amount you are owed is at least 20 percent different from the amount that would be awarded under the current guidelines.
New Illinois Child Support Law
As of July 1, 2017, Illinois will move from a percentage of income model to a shared incomes model to determine child support. Currently, child support is calculated by taking a percentage of the paying parent’s net income. Deviations usually only occur when the child’s needs require a different amount. Next year, the court will use a more balanced approach that takes both parent’s net incomes into account as well as parenting time.
Under the new approach, your child support obligation will probably be different than under the current method. However, the law specifically states that the modified statute does not count as a substantial change in circumstances. You technically cannot automatically modify your child support obligation next year based upon the existence of the new law alone, however an experienced family law attorney can work with you to find a change in circumstances that will allow a modification.
A Chicago Area Child Support Lawyer Can Help
Not all changes in your or the other parent’s life or income will be enough to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. If you want a modification and are not sure whether it is possible, call the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates at 630-961-0060 to schedule a free consultation.