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When Can an Order for Child Support be Modified? 

Posted on in Family Law

arlington heights child support lawyer Child support is a notoriously difficult area of family law, both because of its emotional impact on the parents who give and receive it, and because of the complexity of the rules involved in determining and modifying the amount. 

Parents who are ordered to pay child support may feel angry or panicked if they worry they will not be able to make payments and maintain their own quality of life, but once a  child support order has been handed down, it is difficult to modify - even if the paying parent feels the order is deeply unfair. If you have been ordered to pay child support and you fear you cannot meet your obligations long-term, do not stop making your payments and consult a qualified Illinois child support attorney. 

When is it Possible to Modify an Illinois Child Support Order? 

During a couple’s divorce proceedings, judges will often order temporary child support. This can be modified at any time before the divorce decree is finalized. Once a divorce decree is finalized, the child support order can be modified at any time before the child support obligation terminates. There is no mandatory waiting period. That being said, Illinois law requires a “substantial change in circumstances” to have occurred before judges will approve an increase or decrease in child support. 

What Counts as a “Substantial Change in Circumstances?”

Illinois judges have wide discretion when determining whether a parent’s change in circumstances is sufficient to justify modifying a child support order. Either parent can request a modification, and common modification requests include the following changes in circumstances: 

  • A child’s expenses have increased 

  • Increase in either parent’s financial wellbeing 

  • Decrease in either parent’s financial wellbeing 

  • Remarriage of either parent 

  • A change in the parenting time schedule 

  • Emancipation of a child

Can a Child Support Modification Be Retroactive? 

No. Child support that is past due remains due until it is paid, and there are serious consequences for parents who fail to meet their support obligations. Even when a petition for modification is filed, if it is approved and payments are lowered, the change in payments will only apply from the date of the filing. The paying parent must continue to pay according to the previous order until the new order is handed down. 

Work with an Arlington Heights, IL Child Support Lawyer

Understanding when child support orders are modifiable is essential for achieving a successful modification to your child support order. An experienced Lake County, IL child support attorney with A. Traub & Associates can explore your options and help you throughout the modification process. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation at 847-749-4182




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