Child support payments may be an important part of your life, long after the divorce, and while most parents are happy to support their children financially, life can sometimes get in the way of being able to pay the same amount of support that you had in recent years. If you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances, such as a job change or loss, you may need to ask a court to modify your child support obligation. It is important to understand when and how child support orders can be modified and an experienced Illinois family lawyer can help.
Why Might a Child Support Order Be Modified?
Parents cannot simply unilaterally change child the amount of their support payments; this would be a drain on state resources and lead to an unacceptable lack of predictability for both parents and children who are dependent on support payments for their well-being. Courts require a “substantial” change in a parent’s circumstances before hearing a child support modification petition. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Job loss or significant salary reduction
- Significant salary increase
- Serious injury, illness, or disability that interferes with a parent’s ability to work
- A self-employed parent’s business closure
- Major change in expenses (such as a new child support order or new, ongoing medical bills for the adult making payments)
A judge will carefully examine the reasons a parent is requesting that an order be modified, including past behavior around child support. If it seems a parent has deliberately lost his or her job, is falsely claiming disability, or has tried to get out of child support payments in the past, a judge may refuse to approve the petition.
Sometimes children also experience significant changes that require additional child support payments. If a child is diagnosed with a serious medical illness, for example, the costs of the child’s healthcare may increase significantly, and child support payments may be modified to reflect the increased expenses.
Whether you are the parent receiving payments or making them, you can petition a court to modify a child support order. Expect to be required to provide evidence supporting your claims and to be prepared for opposition from your child’s other parent; after all, they are a part of this process, too. For help moving your case along faster, an experienced Illinois family law attorney can help you determine whether your circumstances may warrant a modification and help you pursue that modification if appropriate.
Contact a DuPage County Child Support Lawyer for a Confidential Consultation
Modifying a child support order may be essential for protecting your financial health, but it is important to do it using the correct channels so that you do not get into trouble with the law. Call the experienced team of Wheaton, IL child support attorneys with MKFM Law at 630-665-7300 to schedule a comprehensive consultation.