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naperville child support lawyerIllinois law requires both parents to financially contribute to their children’s needs, even if they are divorced. However, either parent may petition the court to amend the order if their circumstances have changed. If your financial or employment circumstances have recently changed or your child’s needs have changed, you may be able to ask the court for a child support modification.

When Parents Can Request Child Support Order Modification

Child support orders are eligible for a review and possible modification every three years. However, if you can prove to the court that you have had a drastic change in circumstances, you may be able to modify your order even sooner than that. Here are several situations that may make you eligible for a child support modification:

  • The child’s needs have substantially changed. For instance, if your child has been diagnosed with a health condition that requires extensive treatment, you may ask the court to require the other parent to help pay for the costs associated with the treatment.

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Naperville child support lawyersIn most family law cases involving children, child support is one of the most important issues that will need to be addressed. Typically, a child’s custodial parent (the parent who has the majority of the parenting time with the child) will receive child support from the other parent. However, parents may wonder how child support will be handled if they will be dividing parenting time equally. In these cases, additional calculations will usually be necessary to ensure that a child will receive the financial support they need.

Child Support and Shared Physical Care

The state of Illinois uses an “income sharing” method to calculate parents’ child support obligations. Basic child support obligations are determined using a “schedule” that defines an appropriate amount that parents should pay each month based on their combined incomes and the number of children they share. Each parent will be responsible for a percentage of this amount based on the amount they contribute toward the combined income. For example, if one parent earns 55% of the couple’s combined income, they will be responsible for paying 55% of the basic child support obligation. 

Cases where parents share equal or near-equal parenting time are known as “shared physical care,” and in these situations, additional calculations are necessary to determine each parent’s child support obligations. Rules for shared physical care apply in any situation where children spend at least 40% of the parenting time with each parent. This works out to 146 days per year in which children stay overnight at one parent’s home.

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When You Can Extend Child Support Beyond Age 18

UPDATE: In most cases, non-minor support that is paid after a child reaches the age of 18 is related to college expenses and other costs involved in the child's post-secondary education. Parents who are looking to make sure their child will have the necessary financial resources to pursue a college education will want to understand exactly what types of expenses this support will cover. 

Parents may agree on the amount they will each contribute toward their children's college expenses, or a court may order non-minor support to be paid based on the property owned by the parents or the income they earn. After determining an appropriate amount that parents should contribute, this amount will be equitably divided between the parents. 

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Naperville IL child support modification attorney2020 has been a difficult year for many families. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of stress for many people, requiring them to stay at home and avoid contact with others whenever possible. Parents have had to determine how to provide for their children’s educational needs as they learn from home or attend in-person classes part of the time, and they may have struggled to balance these concerns with the need to work from home or follow the proper safety measures while in public. On top of everything else, many parents have had to deal with financial difficulties due to layoffs, business closures, or restricted working hours. Divorced or separated parents will want to understand how changes to income or other financial obligations will affect the child support they pay or receive, and they may need to take steps to pursue a modification of their child support orders or other terms of their parenting plan.

Modifications Based on a Change in Circumstances

Typically, the terms of a divorce decree or child support order will only be changed if it can be demonstrated that a parent has experienced a significant change in circumstances. A change in the income earned by either parent will usually qualify as a significant change. For example, a job loss may cause a parent to be unable to meet their child support obligations, and they may ask for a reduction in the amount they will be required to pay. If a parent who receives child support suffers a loss in income, they may ask for an increase in the amount of child support payments to ensure that they can continue to meet their children’s financial needs.

Parents are required to continue to pay child support until a modification goes into effect. To ensure that they do not suffer legal consequences, a parent may need to use unemployment benefits, personal savings, or other financial resources to pay child support. If a parent owes child support, any COVID-19 stimulus payments they receive from the government may be intercepted and applied toward the amount owed.

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Naperville child support lawyersParents who have divorced or separated will sometimes disagree on how much each side should have to pay towards child support. If the parents were never married, it can be an ordeal for the mother to prove paternity in order to require the father to pay child support. Even after proving paternity, the father may be unhappy about having to pay. Whatever the reason may be, not paying the required child support amount is harmful to the children because it takes away money that is meant for living expenses. As the parent who is supposed to receive child support, you need to make sure that your child support order is being enforced.

Start with Communication

You should try to resolve the issue with your co-parent out of court before filing a complaint about a violation of your child support order. Find out why they missed their payment and when they plan to make it up. If they could not afford the payment that month, you can try to work with them but remind them that they are still required to pay the amount stated in the child support order unless the order is modified. If they do not respond or are being uncooperative, you may have no choice but to seek legal enforcement.

Enforcing Child Support

If you receive your payments through Illinois’ Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), the DCSS has the means to legally force your co-parent to pay child support. If you do not use the DCSS, you can file a motion in court claiming that your co-parent is in violation of your child support order. The court has several ways of retrieving money from your co-parent, including:

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