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Which Circumstances Allow You to Modify Child Support Payments?

Posted on in Child Support

Which Circumstances Allow You to Modify Child Support Payments?Due to the overhaul of Illinois’ child support law a few years ago, some divorced or separated parents are working under a drastically different child support system than others:

  • For child support agreements created before July 1, 2017, the non-resident parent pays a percentage of his or her income, based on the number of children; and
  • For child support agreements created since July 1, 2017, the total child support obligation is determined by the parents’ combined incomes, and the non-resident parent pays a percentage of the obligation that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined incomes.

The new child support model would potentially reduce the payments of a parent who was using the previous child support model. However, the existence of the new law is not enough reason to allow a modification of a child support agreement. 

Recent Case

A parent needs to prove a significant change of circumstances to immediately modify a child support agreement, which is usually a change in income or expenses for either parent. In the recent case of In re Marriage of Salvatore, a divorced father thought he had enough of a change of circumstances to allow him to reduce his child support payments. The parents had completed their divorce in 2015, with the father paying $8,100 per month for child support. The mother was unemployed at the time of divorce but had since been employed as an office worker and nurse.

The father filed a petition to modify child support in 2017, claiming that the mother’s new income qualifies as a change in circumstances. Using the new child support model, the father’s monthly payments would be reduced to $3,244. However, courts have rejected his petition:

  • The original divorce agreement had considered that the mother may obtain future employment because she had worked in the past; and
  • The mother’s gross monthly income of $3,451 is not a substantial change of circumstances compared to the father’s net monthly income of $25,312.

The court’s apparent reasoning is that the father cannot claim that the mother’s employment is a qualifying change of circumstances because he anticipated that she would return to work.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

A decrease in your income or increase in your co-parent’s income can allow you to decrease your child support payments. Even without a change of circumstances, Illinois permits a review of your child support agreement every three years after it was first created or last modified. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can discuss whether you may qualify for a child support reduction. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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