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Do You Need to Modify a Child Support Order?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

In the State of Illinois, your child support order, as entered by the court, can be modified if the reason for the modification is a substantial change in circumstances, if your child has experienced a substantial change in his or her healthcare needs, or if your child support amount deviates substantially from the state’s child support guidelines. The most common basis, however, is a substantial change in circumstances from the time the order was issued. 

If your financial situation – or your children’s other parent’s financial situation –  has changed substantially, a child support modification may be in order. When it comes to issues related to child support, it’s always in you and your children’s best interests to consult with an experienced Joliet family law attorney

A Substantial Change in Circumstances

Succinctly identifying what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances is difficult to do, and the court has wide discretion in the matter. There are, however, some basic categories that commonly apply, including:

  • Increases in Inflation and Cost of Living – The fact that the nation’s rate of inflation has increased statistically does not qualify as a substantial change in circumstances, but if you can demonstrate that you are experiencing a substantial increase in your cost of living (due to inflation), then you may be able to make a case for a child support modification.
  • Your Children’s Growing Needs – If your children’s needs are increasing, it could amount to a substantial change in circumstances, but these needs will be weighed in relation to you and your ex’s relative ability to cover the increase. The courts use what is known as a substantial imbalance test to ascertain whether the needs of the children and each parent’s ability to support those needs are out of balance, and if so, a child support modification may be issued. 
  • The Obligor’s Improved Financial Situation – If your ex’s financials have improved substantially (since the time your child support order went into effect) – even if yours have remained the same –  the situation may support a child support modification. Improved financials can include an increase in income, a decrease in financial obligations, or even the end of spousal maintenance paid to you. The court will carefully consider the standard of living your children would have enjoyed had you and their other parent not divorced in making its decision. 
  • Your Own Diminished Financial Situation – If you’ve experienced a financial downturn, it may also qualify as a substantial change in circumstances. 
  • A Change in Parenting Time – If the amount of time that your children’s other parent is responsible for your shared children has decreased substantially, it could support a modification. 

Discuss Your Child Support Concerns with an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Joliet Today

If you believe you are entitled to a child support modification, the dedicated family law attorneys at Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino in Joliet have wide-ranging experience successfully guiding case’s like yours toward optimal resolutions. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.

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