In 2017, the Illinois child support calculation changed to an income shares model. Many who were ordered to pay child support prior to the effective date of the new law often wonder if they can modify a child support order under the income shares model to reflect an ex-spouse’s income. The answer is, that despite the fact that many who pay child support might in fact have less of a financial obligation under the new income shares calculation, the enactment of the amendatory Act itself does not constitute the “substantial change in circumstances” required to seek a modification.
Take a recent case of a father who argued that his wife was now earning income and he should have the benefit of the new calculation to reduce his child support obligation. The court found that the occurrence of an event (wife getting a job) contemplated when the parties’ negotiated contractual obligations (the divorce agreement) could not establish a substantial change in circumstances to trigger a downward modification of child support. In other words, at the time of the divorce it was conceivable if not probable to both parties that someday the wife would become employed so it was already considered in the scheme of things when ordering support – not a change in circumstances that warrants modification especially in light of the continued discrepancy in earnings.
Although any attempt to take advantage of the new child support guidelines to reduce support is explicitly prohibited under the law, there are changes in circumstances that do warrant a modification. If a parent is able to demonstrate a “substantial change of circumstances” after July 1, 2017, any modification to a child support will be calculated according to the new Illinois child support law. The most common reason for a court to award a modification to the child support order is when a petitioner can show a substantial change of circumstances occurring after the entry of the support order.
– Inflation and cost of living increase where the petitioner demonstrates specific evidence of increased expenses
– Increased needs of a child balance against the relative ability of the parents to provide those needs
– An Increase or decrease in financial ability of the obliger parent
– Increase or decrease in the financial ability of the recipient parent
– Remarriage of either parent that changes the financial picture
– Change in allocation of parenting time
– Emancipation of the child
– Resources of the child
When You Have Substantial Changes in Circumstances
Contact an Experienced Illinois Child Support Modification Lawyer For Help
Every case is unique and it is worthwhile to discuss the modification of child or spousal support with an experienced family law attorney. Although attempts to simply take advantage of the new child support guidelines to reduce support are not allowed, there are cases where a change in circumstances result in a modification when looking at the overall picture. When you have questions regarding the modification of Illinois child support, contact the Illinois Libertyville Law Offices of Ronald L Bell & Associates PC. at 847-495-6000.