In the years after a divorce or separation, most parents adapt and settle into a new routine. They follow the established arrangements regarding child custody and visitation, as appropriate, with the child or children getting to spend time with each parent as designated. Meeting the obligations of a child support order generally becomes fairly routine as well, with the parents making the life adjustments that may be necessary to facilitate the needs of the child or children.
However, as children grow and life continues, change is inevitable. For some families, it may occur more slowly, as a child develops or as either parent continues to progress in his or her chosen career. Other families may experience more dramatic change, such as a serious injury to a parent or child, or the sudden loss of a job. Whether it happens slowly or suddenly, many may find that their existing child support order no longer effectively considers the needs and resources of the family’s situation.
Illinois law recognizes the need for child support orders to be adjusted over time so that they remain a benefit to the child while considering the financial and life factors of both parents. While going directly to court may be an option, Child Support Services, a division of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family services, may also be able to assist in the order modification process. The agency is tasked by the state to ensure support orders continue to meet the requirements of the law while addressing family circumstances.
Requests for a child support order modification review will typically be granted upon a showing of:
- A substantial change in circumstances; or
- A need to provide for the healthcare needs of the child under the order through health insurance or other means.
A modification may also be necessary if the child has turned 18 years of age or graduated high school, whichever occurs later.
During the review process, both parents are expected to provide income and expense verification, as well as any other information pertinent to the decision process. The agency will take into account all of the provided documentation, and, based on the considerations described in detail in a previous post, recalculate the support arrangement to reflect the current situation.
If you are having trouble meeting your child support obligations, and feel that your circumstances may qualify you for a support order modification review, a qualified lawyer can help you through the proceedings. Contact an experienced St. Charles family law attorney for a free consultation today and find out how our team can help you best provide for your children.