When Should You Modify Child Support in Illinois in 2024

When is it Good Idea to Seek a Modification of Child Support in Illinois in 2024

A common question in Illinois, whether someone is receiving child support or paying child support, is whether they should seek to modify an existing child support order.  Often, child support orders are forgotten and go unnoticed for many years and the benefits from changes in circumstances and the law are forever lost if a modification is not requested in a timely fashion.  Under Illinois law, either the person paying child support (the Obligor) or the person receiving the child support (the Obligee) can file a petition to modify child support pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/510.  However, a party seeking a modification must provide the Court with a sufficient legal basis to obtain a modification.  Generally, in order to seek a modification, a party must be able to show that there was a substantial change in circumstances since the last support order was entered.  From the perspective of the Obligee (receiving support), an example would be when there was a significant increase in the income of the Obligor.   If the Obligor is now earning significantly more than he or she was previously earning, that may mean that he should be paying more child support.  The Illinois support statute provides complex guidelines that calculate the recommended child support and those guidelines are mainly driven by the income of the parties.  Although the Obligor will not be required to pay more child support on a dollar for dollar basis when compared to the increased income, it should increase the monthly support amount that is recommended under the statutory guidelines.  From the perspective of the Obligee (paying the support), an example of a substantial change in circumstances would be when one of several children of the parties became an adult.  If, for example, the support order originally covered two children and one later became emancipated, it might make sense to ask the Court to recalculate the support amount based on one child rather than two, which should usually lower the monthly support amount.

Both parties should also keep in mind when considering whether to seek a modification of child support the potential benefits that they would recover from a modification and conduct a cost benefit analysis.  If the prior support order was entered by agreement without reference to the statutory guidelines, it would be important to know what the guidelines would recommend before seeking a modification.  The guidelines might recommend more or less than was previously agreed to by the parties.  It is also important to note that with a modification request, the latest statutory guidelines will be used for the new support calculations.  The calculations will consider the cost for raising a child in 2024, which will be more than the cost was for example in 2010.  It would be important to consider whether benefit from a change in circumstances or other factors affecting the support amount would outweigh the application of the current statutory guidelines.

Child support is a complicated legal issue to deal with and, if possible, it is always best to seek legal advice from a competent legal professional to get advice and learn your options.  please consider Rutter Family Law, LLC as your legal resource for questions concerning child support.

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