Tag Archives: child support modification

DuPage County child support lawyersWhen a couple has a child together – be they married or not – both parents are legally obligated to provide financial support. Child support orders are the legal manifestation of that obligation, and they outline how much should be paid (generally on a monthly basis). Yet, often, these orders are set up when a child is young, or when a couple first divorces. What happens when life circumstances change?

When the Needs of a Child Have Changed

Children are constantly growing, changing, and evolving. It only makes sense that their needs change, too. Yet not all changes constitute a basis for a modification to a child support order. Generally, the shift in needs must be fairly significant. For example, if a child is accepted to an elite educational program, the receiving parent may seek a modification to help cover the tuition. Likewise, if a child is diagnosed with a medical condition or illness and needs extensive medical treatment, a modification may be requested..

When a Supporting Parent's Circumstances Have Changed

Supporting parents are not immune to significant life changes. They may become disabled because of an accident or an illness, be laid off of work, lose their business, or suffer some other ill fate that negatively affects their income. If significant enough to impede their ability to pay the ordered child support amount, supporting parents should seek modification. It is critical that the parent do this at the very first sign of trouble since failure to pay may result in serious consequences, including jail time.

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remarriage, visitation after remarrying, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are getting married, a great deal of change will occur in your life. A majority of this change will likely be beneficial for you and your new spouse. However, if you had children in a previous marriage before getting divorced, your new marriage may impact child support and visitation.

Child Support

Historically, remarrying did not impact child support as courts did not examine the amount of a new spouse's earnings. This changed slightly when, in an Illinois Appellate Court decision, it was held that the “trial court may equitably consider the income of a parent's current spouse in determining an appropriate award of support.” As a result, courts are not prohibited from considering a new spouses income when addressing certain modifications of child support.

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child support, child support in Illinois, child support modification, DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois case law

Child support in Illinois is computed as a percentage of a parent's net income. A parent must then pay a certain percentage depending on how many children he or she has to support. If a parent is ordered to pay child support based on a certain amount of income, and the parent's income subsequently changes, he or she can apply to the court for a modification to lower the ordered payment amount.

Generally, a parent who is ordered to pay child support cannot voluntarily quit his or her job to avoid paying support and then claim a substantial change in circumstances has occurred which requires a modification of their support obligation. Illinois case law takes this concept further and scrutinizes parents who are fired due to their own actions. Moreover, depending on the particular case, a court could find that someone who was fired was nonetheless voluntarily unemployed. If this happens, the court would classify the parent's loss of income as being in bad faith and thus no modification would be granted.

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