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In Illinois, parents can request a modification to alter a final child support order. They can request a modification to change a final visitation schedule and/or allocation of parental responsibilities.

Will A Parent Ever Be Granted A Modification To A Court Order That Addresses The Healthcare Coverage For Their Child Or Children In Illinois?

In Illinois, it is possible for a parent to be granted a modification to a court order that addresses their child or children’s healthcare coverage. It’s allowed under the child support act, and it is considered as other expenses. Currently, parents are responsible for their child’s other expenses, usually, the parent’s contribution is proportionate to their income. Since healthcare coverage falls under child support in Illinois, a parent could file a motion to modify the child support. However, it requires a substantial change in circumstances in order to be granted.

What Does The Court Consider As A Substantial Change In Circumstances When It Comes To Considering A Modification To A Final Child Custody Or Child Support Order In Illinois?

In regard to a final child custody order, the court requires a substantial change in circumstances in some cases. In other cases, however, the court requires that the requested modification is in the best interest of the children. If the parent or parents show a substantial change in circumstances, the court will make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interest of the children. A custody order regarding parental decision making cannot be modified for two years unless there is a danger, or the children are negatively affected by the custody order. In other words, if a change needs to be made to an order that is less than two years old, it requires much more than a change in circumstances or the best interest of the child.

When it comes to child support, the court requires a substantial change in circumstances. In some cases, but not all, that is more than 10% change in income. Therefore, if either parent has a 10% change in their income, either up or down, the court will revisit the child support order and recalculate it.  Now, a little over three years ago, the child support calculation was changed in Illinois. The state used to calculate child support as 20% of one custodial parent for a parent of one child, 28% for a parent of two children, or 32% for a parent of three children etc. without considering the other parent’s income in any way. However, Illinois is now an income share state in which both parents’ income is used to calculate child support. As a result, the child support responsibility in 95% of my cases has gone down. The primary breadwinner used to be responsible for paying 20%, 28%, 32%, 36% etc. of their net income. Now, the calculation takes into consideration both parties’ income. There’s a very convoluted formula that the legislature has put in place. They determine the amount that is required based on the number of kids and the visitation schedule, and it changes depending on the incomes and circumstances. Pursuant to the formula, they come up with a number. Let’s say that the number that is calculated is $2,000 per month for one child. They would divide that amount between the parties proportionate to their income.

For instance, if the father is making $1 million while the mother is making $30,000, it won’t significantly change the amount of money for one child based on the income of the parties. Unfortunately, it just won’t. It doesn’t go up that much more if the one parent is making $1 million versus $50,000. It would still be around $2,000 per child. However, since the father is making much more money than mom, he would end up paying a higher percentage toward child support. But, the $2,000 will not increase if that is the number that was calculated based on the incomes. If they’re both making $50,000 and the amount is still $2,000 per month for the child support, then they will each pay $1,000. Moreover, if parent A has the child the majority of the time, then parent B will pay the $1,000 to parent A. If, however, parent B has the child over 40% of the nights, then they will pay a much smaller percentage to parent A. As such, parent B would be paying around $400 per month to parent A.

The point is that in the last three years, child support from one parent to the other has decreased exponentially. And so, the parents who have been paying more in child support are claiming substantial changes in circumstances. We’re seeing a number of child support modifications getting filed. We file them on behalf of clients that are paying child support, as well as for clients receiving child support. For clients who are receiving child support, we are defending their child support order. If a substantial change in circumstance is found, it is likely that child support will go down significantly from the payor to the payee. It’s devastating because the parents who are receiving child support are basing their budgets on what they were receiving. In some cases, the father who receives a raise can claim a substantial change in circumstance. If the court finds a substantial change in circumstance, the raise might result in a child support drop of 80%. These modifications are a big deal in Illinois right now.

If you’re the one paying child support, and want to reduce it, it is important to talk to your attorney. Likewise, if you’re the one receiving child support, it is important to get counsel in regard to avoiding an accidental substantial change. Many people don’t know that an increase in income can result in a decrease in child support obligations. Some parents who see their spouse’s income going up, are claiming a substantial changes in circumstances intuitively thinking that their child support’s going to go up as well. In fact, it is very unlikely that they will receive more child support, no matter how big the change in circumstances. If you’re under the old statute, you could come out losing half of your child support. Further, you would be paying for the opportunity to lose money.

For more information on Modifications in Divorce Cases in Illinois, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (847) 234-4445 today.

Attorney Michone Riewer

Attorney Michone RiewerTM is a seasoned lawyer based in Lake Bluff, IL, focusing on Family Law. She brings a wealth of experience to matters of divorce, child custody, alimony, and beyond, aiming to provide clients like you with the insight you need to protect your family and move through the legal world with ease.

Connect with her firm, Strategic DivorceTM, to stay updated on the latest developments in Family Law and get in touch with an advocate who’s committed to helping you navigate the legal landscape in Illinois.

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