Illinois considers it the right of any child to receive financial support from both of his or her parents. Child support can allow a child with divorced or unmarried parents to experience the same opportunities and quality of life as he or she would with parents who are together. Illinois courts use a specific method, called “income shares,” to calculate fair and reasonable child support obligations. However, if something major changes in the life of either parent or the child, the child support order may need to be amended. It is important to learn the steps you should take to request a child support modification in Illinois.
What Should I Do If I Cannot Afford Child Support?
Child support payments can often be a substantial part of a parent’s overall expenses. If you realize that you cannot make your support payment, never simply stop paying. Child support nonpayment is taken very seriously by Illinois courts and you could face serious consequences for neglecting your obligation. Parents who fail to pay their court-ordered child support can face steep fines, wage and bank account garnishment, property liens, interception of tax returns, and more. In the most egregious cases, failure to pay child support can be considered a criminal offense punishable by jail time. If you realize that you cannot make your support payment, notify the recipient of support and your local county court house. To request a change in child support, file a Petition for Modification of Child Support with the court.
Grounds for Child Support Modification
Child support obligations cannot be changed without good reason. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Division of Child Support Services outlines the grounds on which a child support order can be changed. You can qualify for a modification review if one or more of the following circumstances exists:
- There is a substantial change your income or the other parent’s income;
- It has been at least three years since the child support order or modification was established;
- Your current child support order does not address the child’s healthcare needs; or
- A written request for a child support modification review is received by the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) from either parent or another state.
Once the DCSS receives the request, you and the other parent will be notified of whether or not the child support order qualifies for a review. If so, you will be asked to submit income statements. The DCSS will then use this information to recalculate the child support order. It is possible that your child support order will increase, stay the same, or decrease.
Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney
For help with child support issues and other family law matters, contact an experienced Kane County child support lawyer at Weiler & Lengle P.C. today. Call us at 630-382-8050 to schedule a confidential consultation.