Child support is awarded during divorce, or when no marriage occurred between two parents, based on the following criteria:
- Child’s needs, including education, medical, food and clothing, and other necessities
- Child’s financial resources
- Each parent’s income
- Each parent’s other financial resources
- Child’s standard of living during the marriage
- Number of children the couple has together
When a court makes a decision about child support, that support order is rarely set in stone. If the divorce occurred when the child was seven, there is a very small chance that the order will not be modified over the next decade as the child grows to 18, and then goes to college. Modification orders can be made every few years, or “upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances,” according to 750 ILCS 5 Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A substantial change in circumstances may constitute any of the following examples:
- The paying parent gets a large raise.
- The custodial parent loses their job.
- The paying parent gets in a major accident.
- The child begins attending private school.
- The child reaches an age when he or she no longer requires child care.
- The custodial parent has access to significantly more financial resources.
Modifying Child Support
Generally, remarrying does not have any effect on child support modification—after all, it is only the financial obligation of each parent to pay for their child’s needs. However, in a few rare cases, courts have sided with the paying parent’s argument that, because of a new spouse’s finances, the custodial parent had increased access to this shared financial resource. It could be argued that a spouse who remarries may be able to tap into the finances of his or her new spouse, using these resources to pay for food, clothing, housing, insurance, and education for their child....