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If you are a divorced parent of a minor child, there is a very good chance that you currently pay or receive child support. It is the responsibility of every parent to help provide for their child’s basic needs, and child support orders are intended to formalize that obligation. There may come a time, however, where your existing order for child support no longer meets the needs of your family the way that it once did. When this happens, Illinois law permits either parent to petition the court for a modification of the existing order.

A Significant Change in Circumstances

There are many reasons that a support order modification may be necessary. Some are rather dramatic and sudden, while others are less abrupt. In most cases, a parent wishing to have a child support order modified will need to show that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the family. For example, if you are the paying parent and you are diagnosed with a medical condition that will severely impact your ability to earn a living, complying with your existing support order could soon become impossible. You could request a modification on the basis that your circumstances have changed substantially.

Other substantial changes could include a major shift in the needs of the child, a relocation by the parent with the majority of the parenting time, or the modification of an existing parenting plan. It is very important for the paying parent to continue making good faith efforts to remain compliant until the order can be modified by the court.

The 20 Percent Rule

It is also possible for a child support order to become less and less applicable to a family’s situation over time. This could happen when no single major event occurs but little things continue to accumulate. For example, if the paying parent’s income rises by a small percentage each year, after several years, his or her income is likely to be significantly higher than when the original order was calculated.

In situations like these, Illinois law allows a support order to be modified if a recalculation under the current circumstances would result in a 20 percent difference compared to the existing order, as long the difference is at least $10 per month. The law also specifies that the current order must be in place for at least three years before a modification will be considered based on the 20 percent rule.

Explore Your Options

If you are subject to a child support order and have questions about pursuing a modification for any reason, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-945-8807 or 847-426-1866 for a confidential consultation at Pucci Pirtle today.