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Modifying an Existing Support Order

 Posted on January 25, 2017 in Child Support

Lombard family law attorneysIf your income has declined in recent months due to a change in employment or other factors, you may be struggling to make your court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance payments. You may also be wondering if there is anything you can do about it. Can you go to the judge and have your child support and maintenance payments modified accordingly?

Changing these, and other, financial provisions in a divorce is possible under Section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Any party to the case can ask the court to modify the existing order if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The statute lists a number of specific factors, as well as the general inclusion of “any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable,” for the court to take into account.

Change in Income

This is probably the most common basis for a modification request. Perhaps the paying party had to take a lower-paying job for another employer, or a move across town has increased commuting expenses. Maybe the person left his or her job to start a business or lost a license to practice a profession.

It is important to keep in mind that the employment change must have been made in good faith. If a high-level executive, for example, leaves to take a minimum wage job at a fast-food restaurant, the judge may find that person made the job change to avoid paying child support or spousal support.

There are some other considerations. A permanent income change—such as a new job—carries more weight than a temporary economic setback, such as a stock market downturn. In a similar vein, an involuntary change is a more compelling reason for modification than a voluntary change. In other words, paying parties who reduce their work hours to spend more time at home may have a hard time convincing a judge to lower their support obligations.

Procedural Questions

If the changed circumstances occur within two years after the prior judgment, most Illinois courts hesitate to allow a modification action. When the best interests of the child dictate such a measure, however, courts do act accordingly.

In the event that your divorce was handled in another county—or even another state—you can generally bring a modification action in your current county of residence. Your attorney may need to file an additional motion to transfer, but most judges are willing grant these considerations.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If the terms of your divorce are no longer workable for any reason, contact an experienced family law attorney in Lombard. At A. Traub & Associates, we are committed to helping clients understand the law and protecting their rights throughout the legal process.




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