child supportWhen parents get divorced in Illinois, the court will calculate child support payments as part of the divorce case. As you may know, Illinois recently shifted to using the “income shares” model for child support. The model took effect on January 1, 2019, and it requires both parents to contribute to the financial support of their children.


According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/505), under the income shares model, the court will determine each parent’s adjusted net income and combine those amounts to obtain a total adjusted net income.


Based on that total, the court will use the Child Support Guidelines to calculate the total child support obligation. Then, the court will assign each parent a percentage of that total obligation based on each parent’s individual adjusted net income in relation to the total adjusted net income in addition to other factors, such as each party’s amount of parenting time.


What issues or factors can impact your child support payments and your percentage of the child support obligation? You or your ex may be able to request a modification to your child support payments based on any of the following issues.

Unemployment or Underemployment

If you lose your job or you are demoted, you may be able to ask the court to modify the total child support obligation and your monthly child support payment. According to Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/510), a modification of child support may be appropriate if you are able to show that you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances, which may include a job loss or a demotion.


However, if you intentionally quit your job or take a lower-paying position with the intention of paying less child support, you should know that the court can impute income and require you to pay the amount you would have owed prior to the unemployment or underemployment.

Promotion Resulting in Increased Earnings

If you get a promotion at work that comes with increased earnings, your ex could ask the court to modify child support so that your child support payments increase. Similar to the section of Illinois law cited above, your ex may be able to have your child support obligation increased if he or she can show that your promotion constitutes a substantial change in circumstances.

Your Child Has New Health Care Needs

Either parent can ask the court to modify child support by showing that there is “a need to provide for the health care needs of the child,” according to Illinois law.

Modification of Parenting Time

As we noted above, each parent’s portion of the child support obligation is based in part on the total number of overnights with the child, or the total amount of parenting time that is allocated to each parent. Accordingly, if you largely shared parenting time with your spouse when the child support order was entered, but a modification has resulted in you or your spouse having significantly less parenting time, the parent with less parenting time may see an increase in his or her child support payments.

Contact a Chicago Child Support Lawyer

If you have questions about the amount of your child support payments or seeking a modification, an experienced Chicago child support lawyer at our firm can assist you. Contact Michael C. Craven today for more information.

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