It is rare for the personal and financial situations of spouses to remain the same in the months and years following a divorce. The ex-spouses might remarry, one ex-spouse might take a new job, or one ex-spouse might decide to move to another part of the country. At the very least, any children born to the divorced couple will experience a change of situation as they grow from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood. Because of the fluidity of the personal situations of divorced couples and their children, it only makes sense that the law allows child support obligations to be modified as these personal situations change. This ability to modify an existing child support order is not limitless, however.
Snapshot: How Is Child Support Calculated in Illinois?
Briefly, child support obligations in Illinois are calculated according to a formula contained in Illinois law. This formula directs the court to first calculate the non-custodial parent’s net income (that parent’s gross income from all sources less certain permissible deductions). The law then directs the court to set a child support obligation in the amount of a percentage of the net income corresponding to the number of children the divorced couple has. For example, 20 percent of a non-custodial parent’s net income will be taken for that parent’s child support obligation if the couple had one child together; 28 percent will be taken if the non-custodial parent and the other parent had two children together, and so on.
So How Do I Modify This Amount?
A child support order is valid and enforceable once it has been entered and filed by the court. The non-custodial parent must pay this amount unless and until the court enters an order modifying this amount. A court will consider a modification if either parent files a petition claiming there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last order was entered.
For instance, the non-custodial parent can seek a downward modification of the child support order if he or she lost his or her job, if one or more children have turned 18 and are no longer in high school, or if one or more children do not live with the custodial parent anymore.
Similarly, the custodial parent can seek an upward modification of the child support order if the non-custodial parent’s income substantially increased, if the child has special needs that requires additional support, or if one or more of the couple’s eligible children come to live with the custodial parent.
Once a written petition is filed, the court will hold an evidentiary hearing and receive evidence and testimony from the spouses. This evidence can consist of not only your own testimony as to whether a modification should or should not be granted, but (depending on the circumstances) evidence may also include pay stubs, tax returns, the child’s medical bills, and affidavits from neighbors and school personnel verifying the living situation of a child or children.
Contact a DuPage County Child Support Attorney
We at Abear Law Offices can help divorced parents petition the court for modifications to child support and we can help parents seeking to defend against a request for modification. In either event, we will review the circumstances of your particular case, identify and attempt to secure persuasive and helpful evidence, and present the relevant facts and legal justifications to the court. Learn what we can do for you by contacting one of our skilled Wheaton family law attorneys today to set up a consultation.