Taking Action to Modify a Child Support Order

Watching your child grow and develop is among the most sublime experiences a parent will ever know. It follows, however, that changes in growth and development also affect the child’s needs in many areas, including physical, emotional, mental, and educational requirements. A child of divorced or unmarried parents may have had such needs considered during the initial establishment of a child support order, which, consequently, may require updating.

In addition to the evolving needs of the child, a support order may also need to be updated as the result of other situational changes surrounding the family. Understanding the need for modification, though, begins with a clear comprehension of how a child support order is determined in the first place.

Income and Other Factors

Under Illinois law, child support is based primarily on the income of the party ordered to pay support. While income is the primary basis, the court may also consider a number of other circumstantial factors in creating an order that addresses the needs of the child while remaining cognizant of the parents’ needs and resources.

Substantial Change

An order for child support can only remain appropriate as long as the factors on which it was established remain roughly the same. For example, if the parent paying support got a new job in which he made $500 more per year than he did when the order was entered, it is rather unlikely that the order would truly need to be modified strictly on such a basis. On the other hand, if the supporting parent was injured in a car accident and was no longer able to work for period of time, his ability to meet the obligations of the support order would be severely compromised leading to the need for a modification.

Significant change can also occur in regard to the child, as well. For example, the child may be accepted into a prestigious academic program offering tremendous opportunities, but at a significant higher expense. The new educational needs of the child could cause the court to modify the support order. Likewise, if the child was diagnosed with a serious medical condition requiring extensive treatment, a new order may be required.

Child Support Modification

Either parent may petition the court to modify a child support order. The petitioner is expected to demonstrate to the court that either:

  • A significant change in circumstances has occurred; or
  • A need exists to provide for the healthcare of the child, either through health insurance or other means.

The court will then review the facts of the case, and in accordance with state law regarding child support, may issue a modified child support order.

If you are interested in having your child support order reviewed, whether you pay support or receive it on behalf of your child, our team is committed to helping you. Contact an experienced Oak Brook family law attorney for a free consultation and put our experience on your side.

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