How Do I Petition for a Change in Child Support?

How Do I Petition for a Change in Child Support?

What does child support mean for your family? Is it something you feel was correctly determined or do you believe you deserve more or owe less? If you are looking for an increase or decrease, it is certainly possible, but it does require some legal intervention.

In Illinois, during the period in which a child support order is temporary and pending, it is possible to change it. However, after the final judgement, it will be harder to modify. In order to do so, your lawyer will have to prove that here has been a “substantial change in circumstances”.

How the New Law Changes Child Support

The new Illinois Child Support law that took effect in 2017 has changed the way that child support is calculated. The child support amounts are now determined based on the Illinois Child Support Guidelines.

The previous law dictated that the courts awarded child support as certain minimum percentages of the non-custodial parent’s net income, with no thought to the custodial parent’s income. This was a fairly antiquated model that most other states had already done away with, which is why the law was changed.

The new law uses an “income shares” model. This means that courts are instructed to determine how much money should be allocated based on a number of factors including the cost of living, how many children, and the combined income of both parents. Based on those factors, each parent is responsible for his or her prorated share based on their incomes (or potential incomes if they are under or unemployed).

Or in other words, the state is trying to determine what the standard of living would have been for the children if their parents had not gotten divorced and maintain that standard through child support.

This new law means that some parents may end up paying more or less than they did before the law changed.

How to Modify Child Support

If your child support amounts were determined before the law changed, you still need to be able to prove there was a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to have them altered.

As we all know, nothing stays the same forever, which is why if circumstances change and you feel that you deserve an increase or decrease in child support, there is a way to ask.

The most common reason a request to increase or decrease is made is because there has been a substantial change in income. For example, the person paying support has more or less income than he or she had at the time the support was last set. Another major reason is that the child’s needs have changed.

In order to petition the court for the change, your lawyer must file a petition for the increase or decrease in support with a court that explains this new financial information.

Based on this information, the parents will try to come to an agreement on the new child support amounts. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the court will hold a hearing to decide if there really has been a significant enough change to necessitate a new child support order.

Modifying child support can make a big difference for you and your children. You need a lawyer who is willing to fight for your family. Contact me to learn more.

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Michael Craven
Michael Craven 29 posts

Michael C. Craven is a well-known divorce attorney in Chicago, CPA and a partner of the law firm, Harrison & Held, LLP, located in the Chicago area. He is highly respected among other divorce attorneys, judges and his clients. He also holds a Master of Tax Law Degree (LLM). For more information about his services, contact Michael at or at Divorce Lawyers Chicago.

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