Modifying child support orders in Illinois


Sometimes, a job loss, a move or other change in living situation requires Illinois parents to petition courts for a review of their child support orders. In Illinois, both custodial and non-custodial parents can request a child support order review under certain circumstances.


Determining child support in Illinois


Family courts in the state of Illinois consider a variety of factors when determining child support orders. The final order takes into account the financial resources and needs of the children and custodial parent, as well as the financial resources of the non-custodial parent who will be paying child support. Child support orders also factor in the standard of living of the children as well as their physical, emotional and educational needs.


Illinois also uses a child support schedule to guide a family court's order. The schedule is based on the non-custodial parent's monthly income. If a parent is supporting one child, a child support order may be about 20 percent of the non-custodial parent's monthly income. For two children, this percentage rises to 28 percent. The percentage rises to 32, 40 and 45 percent for three, four and five children, respectively.


Modifying Illinois child support orders


There are several circumstances under which parents can request modification a child support order. Parents can request a modification if their child support order was established three or more years ago, since it is possible that a non-custodial parent's income has changed within that time or that expenses for a custodial parent have increased.


Parents may also request a change in their child support order if there has been a substantial change in the non-custodial parent's income. This can work in either parent's favor depending on the circumstance. On one hand, a non-custodial parent can request a modification if their income has decreased substantially since the order was established. On the other hand, a custodial parent may request a child support order review if the non-custodial parent's income has increased substantially.


Sometimes, an existing child support order does not address the cost of health care coverage or medical expenses for a child. In these cases, parents can request a modification to the order to include these costs.


Child support modification process


Illinois' Division of Child Support Services, or DCSS, handles child support modifications. After a parent makes a formal request for a modification of a child support order, DCSS will send him or her a statement of qualification within 30 days. The statement of qualification will explain whether or not an order is eligible to be changed.


If the order qualifies, DCSS will request a parent's income information so it can adjust the order appropriately. Once DCSS makes its determination, parents will receive a notification that the child support order has increased, decreased or stayed the same.


It is possible for parents whose orders were eligible for a modification but were not changed to request an appeal of the DCSS's decision. There are three ways to appeal a DCSS decision: through a redetermination, an appearance in court to contest the decision or an administrative hearing.


All current child support orders remain in place until parents receive notice that a change has been made. Parents should not stop paying their child support payments while they wait for a decision from DCSS.


To learn more about how to change a child support order in Illinois, contact an experienced family law attorney.