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Illinoisans can modify their child support

Photo of Karen Lavin


For many Illinoisans with kids, one of the biggest issues during a separation is child support. Kids don't come cheap. They eat their weight in food. They outgrow clothes as fast as you can buy them. And they make other expenses like insurance and housing go up too.

Given the high price of children, it makes sense that both parents should pitch in to cover the cost. But how much each parent should pitch in can be a nettlesome question. Often, parents cannot solve that riddle on their own. If so, a court will step in and decide for them. Following that decision, the court will issue an order called a child-support order spelling out the court's decision.

But just because a court has issued a pronouncement from its lofty perch does not mean that pronouncement has been chiseled into stone like Moses descending from mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments in his arms. To the contrary, parents can always go back to the court and ask it to modify its order. To find out when a court might do that, keep reading.

In short, a court will revisit an issue only when given a good reason to do so. A good reason exists, according to family law, when there have been changed circumstances since the order was issued. But not just any changed circumstance will do; the change must be both significant and permanent.

What types of changes fit that bill? Several. For example, a parent may have had a successful business when the child support order was issued. If that business takes a nose dive, the parent can ask the court to adjust the child support amount accordingly. Or, a parent may have been the picture of health but is now going through a serious illness that affects his or her finances. Or a person had a job but does not anymore. These and other circumstances could persuade a judge to reshape its child-support order.

Source: South Jersey Times, "Your Legal Corner: Modification of a child support order," June 22, 2014

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