It is no secret how difficult it can be to provide for your child following a divorce or breakup. No matter how good your intentions may be, raising a child costs money: money for a place to live, money to buy food and clothes, money for phone, gas and electric bills, money for doctors’ visits, and other elements of daily living. Child support orders are used to help hold both parents accountable for meeting the child’s needs, generally requiring one parent to make regular payments to help share the financial burden. Over time, however, the child’s needs and the parents’ economic situations may change, and an order for child support may need to change with them.
The most basic calculations for determining child support payments in Illinois are made in accordance with a statutory formula that considers the supporting parent’s net income and the number of children to be supported. The expected payment would be a percentage of the parent’s net income, though the actually-ordered payment may be increased or decreased at the discretion of the court. These changes may only be made upon careful consideration of the family’s circumstances, including the educational, medical, or other needs of the child, and extenuating economic concerns related to the parents.
Modifying a Support Order
Illinois law provides for three scenarios in which a modification of a child support order is considered to be necessary and appropriate. First, an order may be modified upon the showing of a substantial change in circumstance, including the loss of a job, the relocation of the primary residential parent with the child, or diagnosis of a serious medical condition. The second situation does not require a substantial change, but does require a showing that the health care needs of the child need to be addressed, either through insurance of other means. Finally, the law also permits a modification based on the application of the so-called “20 percent rule.”
20 Percent Difference
The 20 percent rule is essentially designed to account for gradual increases or decreases in a parent’s income that may not significantly change the family’s circumstances. Presuming the original order was based primarily on a mathematic formula, if a recalculation based on the current situation would create a difference of at least 20 percent from the existing child support order, the order may be modified. The difference may result in an increase or a decrease in the ordered payment, but must be at least $10 per month. Additionally, if the inconsistency between the calculations is due to a previous circumstantial finding by the court in the original order that is still considered appropriate, the court could deny the modification request.
Child Support Guidance
Pursuing a child support order modification can be very complex and confusing at times. That is why it is important to seek the assistance of an experience Kane County family law attorney. We will work with you in understanding your options and will help you protect your child’s best interests every step of the way. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., at 630-377-7770 today for a free initial consultation.