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I Need to Modify My Child Support

 Posted on April 01, 2020 in Family Law



       As of March 31, 2020, Governor Pritzker has confirmed that the shelter-in-place order shall remain until at least April 30, 2020.  Regretfully, many people and businesses alike are feeling the financial hardship that COVID-19 has caused to the economy. Moreover, it has led many people to fear that they will not be able to pay their court ordered child support or maintenance as a result of the loss of income and/or employment. 

       Section 750 ILCS 5/510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that generally, court ordered child support (or maintenance) may be modified two ways: 1) upon showing of a substantial change in circumstances; and 2) without showing a substantial in change in circumstances, but showing that there is a difference of at least 20%, but no less than $10 per month, between the amount of the existing order and the amount of child support that results from application of the child support guidelines. Please note that this option is only available to child support cases where a party is receiving child support enforcement services from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and only when at least 36 months have elapsed since the order for child support was entered or last modified. 

       With that said, unless you have a matter wherein the Department of Healthcare and Family Services is assisting you with your matter; you will have to have show a substantial change in circumstances since the last court ordered child support obligation.  While there is no bright line test as to what constitutes as a "substantial change in circumstance," Courts will focus on the following: 1) Why has your income changed? (i.e. did you voluntarily quit? Were you terminated? Were you involuntarily laid off?) 2) How has your income changed, 3) How much has your income changed? To be blunt, if you voluntarily quit your employment or if you were terminated as a result of poor behavior or work performance, a judge may not be inclined to reduce a child support obligation. However, if a person's income was substantially reduced through no fault of their own (i.e. laid off as a result of COVID-19), then a person may have a legitimate claim for a modification (reduction) of child support. 

      In order for a person to begin a Petition for Modification of Child Support, a petition must be filed with the circuit clerk within the county wherein the child support obligation exists. Moreover, the sooner the petition is filed, the better. Regretfully, the mere filing of the petition to modify does not legally stop a person's child support obligation, however, should the judge later grant the petition to modify, the modification shall be retroactive to the date of filing. 

     If you have further questions as to your child support obligation, the attorneys at Serrano Hanson can help you understand the process and discuss your possible options. Please contact us at 630-844-8781. The lawyers at Serrano Hanson provide representation to clients throughout DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, and DuPage Counties, including South Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, and Campton Hills.


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