Tag Archives: child support modification

IL divorce lawyerChild support is often awarded in divorce cases and typically, payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent that won custody. Falling into arrears on a child support order means you have not paid the appropriate amount of support, and it is a very serious matter. Child support orders are court orders and as such, they are legally binding. If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is essential that you do your best to make payments on time so you can avoid the consequences that come with falling into arrears.

Interest on Child Support Arrears

Child support arrears are calculated by subtracting the amount of money you have paid by the total amount of support you were supposed to pay. If you fall into arrears or do not pay the proper amount of support, you still owe the money. However, the total amount of arrears also collects interest at a rate of nine percent, which is more than the vast majority of types of investments.

A parent that is owed child support payments may not take action right away, allowing that interest to continue to build. Once they do take legal action, the interest owed alone can be so great that any payments you are able to make only cover the interest. That essentially means that you do not make any progress in paying the amount originally owed.

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IL family lawyerParents in Illinois always have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children, even after divorce. During divorce proceedings, parents can come to an agreement on their own about child support, or a judge may issue an order. Either way, these orders are legally binding and the only way to change them is to petition the court for a modification. The courts do not give modifications easily, but there are four common issues that can result in a reduction. Regardless of whether you are receiving child support or paying it, it is important to know what these issues are, and when they may impact the amount of support ordered.

The Paying Parent Loses Their Job

When making a determination about child support, a judge will consider the paying parent’s income, education, and past work experience. When the parent that pays child support loses their job, that clearly significantly impacts their income. Job loss could justify lowering the total amount of child support they pay, and that the other parent receives.

The Paying Parent Experiences a Loss of Income

A parent that pays child support may experience a drop in income even if they do not lose their job. For example, their employer may demote them or, they may find a new job that pays less. In these instances, a child support order may also be reduced based on the new amount of income the paying parent is responsible for paying.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter the pandemic hit Illinois in late March, unemployment claims in the state increased by more than 178,000. To put that in perspective, that is an increase of 1,833 percent in just one week. With so many people being furloughed, laid off, or permanently terminated from their job, it is no surprise that many parents are also wondering how they are going to meet their child support obligations. Although it is understandable that this is an expense that you may not be able to afford right now, it is crucial that you do not simply stop paying. In Illinois, there is a procedure for modifying child support and you must follow it.

Reasons for Modifying Child Support

There are several acceptable reasons for modifying child support. A judge may change the amount you pay if you can show:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances
  • The modification is necessary for the healthcare needs of the child, or
  • The child support obligation deviates from the guidelines set out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

The most common reason for a court to modify a child support order is when there has been a substantial change of circumstances. These changes may include cost of living increases, additional needs of the child, and the financial ability of the parents, such as if one or both of them lost their job due to the pandemic.

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IL divorce lawyerMost people would like to know that once their divorce is finalized by the courts, it is truly over. However, that is not always the case and many spouses often want to modify court orders issued as a result of a divorce. Modifications are not granted easily by the courts. They will take a number of factors into consideration, such as the order an ex-spouse wants to be modified, and the reasons for changing it. If you have recently gotten a divorce and now wish to modify some portion of the divorce decree, below are some of the most important things to know when making changes.

Reasons for Post-Decree Modifications

Typically, only two changes in a person’s life allows them to modify court orders. These include a change in their financial situation or a change in their family situation. Common reasons for post-decree modifications include:

  • A party paying support suffers a disability and can no longer work as a result
  • A party receiving support has been promoted or has received a significant increase in their salary
  • A party has had a significant reduction in their earnings
  • One party has remarried or has had another child
  • The needs of a child receiving support have changed
  • The child has reached an age of maturity and wishes to live with the other parent
  • A parent wants to move to another state

Even when these scenarios occur, it is crucial that both parties comply with the original order before making any changes. If they fail to do so, they may be held in contempt of court.

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IL child support lawyerChild support in Illinois is legally binding. When a judge orders one parent to pay it as a result of divorce, they must do so. That does not mean, however, that you are stuck with a high payment that you might not always be able to afford. The law in Illinois recognizes that situations change and as such, either parent can petition the court to have their child support payments modified. The steps for doing so are outlined below.

Find a Good Family Lawyer

It is not a requirement that you have legal representation to modify child support payments. If you represent yourself, you will not have anyone to guide you through the legal system. The staff in the courtroom also cannot give legal advice, or tell you of the chances of a successful outcome. It is in your best interest to speak to an attorney any time you have to go to court.

Complete All Forms and File with the Court

There are many forms you will need to complete. These include:

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