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For children whose parents are divorced, child support is an essential part of ensuring they get their needs met by both parents. Illinois law uses a formula to determine payments using the Income Shares method, and payments are generally made from the non-residential parent to the residential parent (or the parent who has the most parenting time).
Sometimes, after child support payments have been determined, an unexpected expense will occur. Children may become seriously ill and require expensive medical treatment, or be diagnosed with a learning disability that requires extensive tutoring or in-class support. When these things happen, Illinois courts do not expect the residential parent to simply pick up all of the extra costs. If you are a parent and your child’s needs have unexpectedly increased, you may be able to petition the court for increased child support payments.
Child support obligations must be modified by filing a petition in the county court that has jurisdiction over the case in question. The petitioning parent should provide the basis for requesting a change in payments and both parents must appear at a scheduled hearing.
Courts will only modify child support payments if there is a substantial change of circumstances. Although this is usually due to a significant increase or decrease in the paying parent’s income, there are several circumstances where an increased need of a child will justify an increase in child support. This includes, but is not limited to:
An increase in unreimbursed medical expenses, including ongoing treatment
An increase in the cost of educational needs
An increase in the cost of extracurricular activities
An increase in the cost of childcare, such as daycare or afterschool care
Courts will also consider whether the financial situation of each parent is suited to the increased needs of the children using the “substantial imbalance” test. The substantial imbalance test asks whether the parent’s ability to pay for the children’s needs justifies an automatic increase in child support. If the resident parent is requesting greater child support payments but is, in fact, better equipped to provide for the child’s increased needs, judges may grant a lower increase than requested or refuse the request entirely.
At Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we know that parenting young children is filled with unexpected changes. Our highly skilled DuPage County child support attorneys are flexible and responsive, and will work with your preferences so you can pursue the best options available to you under Illinois law. We offer free initial consultations and provide a comfortable atmosphere, allowing you to feel confident that you have made the right choice. Give us a call today at 630-920-8855.