One of the most important considerations in a divorce or any co-parenting situation is making sure that children are well provided for by both parents. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, you bear the responsibility to contribute financially to your children’s food, clothing, shelter, health, and education. However, as your financial situation changes, especially during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find it difficult to keep up with the payments in your original child support order. If you have recently been laid off or have experienced an involuntary drop in income, you should consider pursuing a modification to your order.
How Are Child Support Payments Calculated in Illinois?
In Illinois, child support payments are determined by combining both parents’ monthly net incomes and allocating an equitable percentage of the child support obligation to each parent. The calculation also considers the number of children, their needs, and the standard of living they would have experienced in a two-parent household. Typically, the custodial parent fulfills their obligation by spending more time and money caring for the children directly, while the non-custodial parent is expected to make monthly payments to the custodial parent. Because each parent’s income is a significant factor in the calculation, if you have experienced a change in your income, it is important to seek a modification to the order whether you are the custodial or the non-custodial parent.
How to Seek a Modification to a Child Support Order
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) specifies that a child support order can be modified when there is a significant change in the non-custodial parent’s income, but either parent can request a modification at any time if a major change has occurred. After losing your job, you can contact DHFS to request a modification, and you will then be asked to certify your income and expenses, including any unemployment income you are receiving. The Division of Child Support Services will review your case and notify you of any changes to your existing order based on new calculations. If your modification is approved, the decreased payments can be applied retroactively to the date you filed for modification, but until then you should continue making payments according to your previous order to avoid facing penalties.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
The sooner you request a modification, the sooner you can make your payments more manageable during a difficult time while still providing for your children’s needs. Our attorneys at Davi Law Group can advise you through the modification process and help you present a strong case for an adjustment. Contact a Wheaton child support attorney at 630-504-0176 for a free consultation.