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How to Modify a Child Support Arrangement 

Hawkins Law Office, P.C.
money folded between paper children and parent

Once a child support order is finalized, it requires both parties to fulfill their obligations under the agreement. However, life after divorce is not static. It is possible that the paying or receiving parent could experience a change in circumstances. That is why the law allows parties to modify a child support arrangement when valid reasons for modification exist.  

How do you modify a child support arrangement in Illinois? Everyone’s situation is different, which is why determining the best approach to change a child support order will vary from one individual case to another.  

Our knowledgeable attorney at Hawkins Law Office, P.C. can provide the guidance you need to help you modify a child support arrangement. We will advocate for your rights to help you secure the best possible outcome. With an office in Edwardsville, Illinois, Hawkins Law Office, P.C. proudly serves clients in Hillsboro, Carlinville, Greenville, Belleville, Vandalia, and Jerseyville.  

Reasons to Modify a Child Support Arrangement  

There can be multiple reasons to modify a child support arrangement, including but not limited to: 

  • Changes in financial situations. For the parent who was ordered to pay child support, losing their job or seeing a reduction in income can make it challenging (or impossible) to continue supporting their child. Changes in the payor’s financial situation may warrant a modification if the loss of the job or reduction in income was involuntary and outside of the payor’s control.  

  • Custody/parenting time changes. Parenting time is one of the factors considered by Illinois courts when determining child support. For this reason, changes in custody or parenting time may be a valid reason to modify child support.  

  • Changes in the child’s needs. Children go through different stages as they grow older. For this reason, a child’s needs and expenses can change as they age, which may warrant a modification.  

  • Disability. The physical health or disability of either parent could be a valid reason to modify an existing child support order. For example, if the paying parent becomes disabled, they may not be able to work as many hours as they did or work at all, which would prevent them from financially supporting their child.  

  • New child. If the paying parent has a baby with a new partner when there is a support order for a child from their previous marriage/relationship, they may be able to modify the existing order. A reduction in child support may be deemed appropriate to allow the parent to support their new child.  

  • Remarriage. While remarriage in and of itself may not be enough to warrant a modification, a court will typically consider all financial resources available to both parents when determining the appropriate amount in child support.  

  • The child’s emancipation. A child becomes emancipated when he or she voluntarily leaves the parent’s home and takes full responsibility for their own care. In that case, an emancipated child does not need parents to support them, which may make it appropriate to modify a child support arrangement. 

There may be other reasons to modify a child support arrangement. Consider contacting a skilled family law attorney to evaluate your particular situation and determine whether you can modify an existing order to terminate, reduce, or increase the amount of child support in your specific case.   

Illinois’ Guidelines for Modifying Child Support  

Under Illinois law, parents can modify an existing child support order when there is a substantial change in circumstances. The only way to modify a child support arrangement without demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances is if the paying parent’s obligations differ from the presumed guideline amount by at least 20% but no less than $10 per month.  

Common examples of a substantial change in circumstances for the payor are the loss of a job, involuntary reduction in income, disability, and other events or circumstances that significantly affect the paying parent’s ability to continue making monthly payments.  

In order to initiate the modification process, you need to file a petition requesting a modification or termination of child support and stating the reasons for changing the existing order. In Illinois, child support payments can be altered by the court retroactively to the date of filing the petition to modify.  

How Remarriage Affects Support  

Remarriage and child support are some of the most contentious topics when discussing possible modifications of support payments. Contrary to popular belief, a new spouse’s income may be taken into account by the court when considering all the financial resources available to both parents. However, it is rare to necessitate a modification of child support based on remarriage alone. Illinois courts are more likely to modify an existing child support order if the remarried paying parent has a baby with their new spouse.  

Practical & Compassionate Guidance  

If you are considering modifying a child support arrangement, you may want to discuss your options with a skilled family law attorney at Hawkins Law Office, P.C. We can help you every step of the way by providing compassionate guidance and personalized service. Whether you want to reduce the amount to pay or are seeking an increase in the amount, discuss your case with our attorney in Edwardsville, Illinois, during a free, 30-minute consultation.