Modifying an Illinois order for child support

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | family law |

When an Illinois couple completes the process of terminating their divorce, dividing their assets, and ensuring financial support for their children, they will likely assume that they will not have any further disagreements regarding child support. Unfortunately, life is uncertain, and unexpected circumstances may require modification of a child support order that seemed equitable when the judge signed it. Unexpected circumstances may include a change of job, a disabling illness or the re-marriage of a former spouse. In such cases, the financial assumptions that underlie the existing order for support may no longer be valid, and the terms of the original order must be modified.

Initiating the modification process

Illinois law provides that an existing order for child support is eligible for modification every three years or when there has been a significant change in the needs of the child or the non-custodial parent’s income. The party who initiated the proceeding to amend the existing order must be able to prove the ability of the other party to pay any increase in child support. A petitioner (the party filing the motion to amend) may also request a pre-hearing review in which the non-custodial parent’s employment status and ability to pay an increased amount of support.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may become involved in the proceeding to the extent that payment of child support is at issue. All other issues, including custody, visitation, and other monetary issues must be handled by an attorney chosen by the moving party.

Using an attorney

The state of Illinois has a number of on;ine tools that can be used to submit and pursue a petition for amendment of a support order. While these forms are undoubtedly helpful and may preclude the need for an attorney, many support modification proceedings are complex, involving the analysis of employment and bank records and in many cases, the ability of one of the parties to earn a sustaining income.

Anyone who is considering seeking the modification of an existing order for child support may wish to consult an experienced family law attorney for an assessment of the evidence and an opinion on the likelihood of a favorable outcome.