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Child Support Orders and the 20 Percent Modification Rule

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Support

modification, Lombard child support lawyersWhether you make or receive court-ordered payments of child support, you probably realize how much your children depend upon compliance with the order. As time goes by, however, an order may become out of sync with your child’s needs or your own financial situation. Fortunately, Illinois law provides several scenarios in which a modification of a child support order may be appropriate.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

Assuming that you pay child support, dramatic changes in your life or the life of your child can, obviously, affect your ability to make payments or the amount of support needed to truly help your child. For example, if you are injured in car accident, you may not be able to work for a time, making compliance with your support nearly impossible. Similarly, if your child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, he or she may require additional support to help subsidize medical treatment. According to the law, a child support order can be reviewed for modification "upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances."

More Gradual Changes

While sudden major life changes are certainly possible and do happen, smaller details in life are changing on a much more regular basis. Over time, the cumulative effect of such evolution can be just as a great, but you may not be able to pinpoint a specific "substantial change." For example, since your child support order was entered, you have continued to work at the same company, with cost-of-living increases every year, and occasional merit-based raises or minor promotions. Your standard of living remained essentially unaffected, but compared to when the order was originally entered, your income is certainly higher.

This type of situation can be addressed by separate provision in Illinois law which allows for a modification review even without a substantial change in circumstances. If the application of the statutory formula for calculating child support today results in at least a difference of 20 percent—and at least $10 per month—compared to the existing order, the order may be considered for modification. In the event that inconsistency of 20 percent or more is due to a finding of the court that increased or decreased the current obligation for a particular reason, and the reason is still valid, the order will not be modified.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

If you are currently making payments in accordance with a child support order that no longer fits your situation, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. We will work with you to determine your eligibility for a modification and will remain at your side throughout the process. Schedule your confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.


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