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When Is an Illinois Child Support Order Eligible for Modification?

Posted on in Divorce

Burr Ridge child support attorney

Child support payments can be a significant expense, but they are also vital to helping unmarried or divorced parents share the costs of raising their child. Child support amounts are calculated using the Income Shares model in Illinois. Both parents’ net incomes and other factors are used to determine a fair, reasonable child support arrangement. However, circumstances can change, and a parent may need to modify a child support order, whether he or she is the paying or receiving parent.

Adjusting Child Support

Illinois child support orders are eligible for a “modification review” every three years, but this does not mean that a modification will automatically be granted. During the modification review, the parents’ financial circumstances and other information are evaluated in order to determine if a modification is necessary. Child support orders may also be eligible for modification if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances,” the child’s healthcare needs are not being met, or there is a considerable difference between the current child support order and the child support guidelines established by Illinois law.

What Qualifies as a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

The phrase “substantial change in circumstances” is quite vague, and many parents are unsure whether their situation will qualify them for a modified child support order. Courts have broad discretion when it comes to child support modifications, but typically, the court will consider modifying a child support order if:

  • The paying parent, called the obligor parent, has lost his or her job or experienced a major decrease in income.

  • The recipient parent’s income has substantially increased or decreased.

  • There has been a substantial change in the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time.

  • There has been a major increase in the child’s financial resources, such as receiving an inheritance.

Deviation from the Income Shares Guidelines

If a child support order is significantly different than the guidelines set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the order may potentially be eligible for a modification, even if there is no substantial change in circumstances. In order to receive a modification, the parent will need to show that the current child support obligation differs from the guidelines by more than 20 percent. However, if the court intentionally entered an original child support order that differed from the guidelines due to special circumstances, the deviation alone will not justify the modification. Furthermore, this option is only available if both of the below scenarios apply:

  • The parent is subject to child support enforcement actions through the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services (IDHHS). 

  • The child support order was established more than 36 months ago.

Contact an Oak Brook Divorce Attorney

Child support orders are set by the courts, and they can only be changed in certain circumstances. This may be necessary to better accommodate the paying or receiving parent, as long as the modification is in the best interests of the child. To learn more about modifying your child support order or for assistance with other family law matters, contact the distinguished law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Hinsdale child support lawyer by calling our office today at 630-575-8585.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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