Child support payments allow divorced or unmarried parents to effectively split the costs associated with raising children. In Illinois, the amount a parent pays in child support is largely based on the difference between the parents’ net incomes. When there is a significant change in a parent’s financial circumstances, the needs of the child, or in the way the parents divide parenting time, a child support order modification may be necessary. However, changing your child support order is not always as simple as it may seem.
Calculating Child Support Payments in Illinois
Illinois child support orders are determined using the Income Shares method. First, the parents’ individual net incomes are added together to find the combined net income. The combined net income is then compared to a chart created by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to find the “basic child support obligation.” This figure represents the total financial support for which both parents are responsible. The basic child support obligation is allocated to the parents based on their respective shares of the combined net income. In shared parenting situations, meaning each parent has at least 146 overnights with the child each year, the amount the obligor parent pays in child support is reduced by his or her allotment of parenting time.
Do I Qualify for a Child Support Modification?
Illinois courts do not grant child support modifications for just any reason. You will need to show evidence that the modification is warranted. Illinois law states that a child support order may be eligible for modification if:
- There is a “substantial change in circumstances”
- A modification is needed to provide for the child’s healthcare needs
- The child support obligation significantly deviates from the statutory guidelines
A major increase or decrease in the financial resources of either parent is the most common reason parents request a child support modification. Often, an obligor parent requests a reduced child support payment amount because he or she has lost his or her job or experienced a major reduction in income. However, in order for a parent’s job loss or reduced income to qualify him or her for a reduced child support obligation, the change must have been made in good faith. A parent cannot simply quit his or her job or voluntarily take a lower-paying job and expect to pay less in child support. A significant change in the allocation of parental responsibilities may also justify a child support modification, such as if the parenting time is adjusted to make it a shared parenting arrangement.
Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer
If you need to change your child support order, establish child support for the first time, or enforce an existing child support order, Batavia family law attorney Van A. Larson can help. Call the Law Office of Van A. Larson, P.C., at 630-879-9090 today and schedule a free, confidential consultation.