Does a Change in Illinois Child Support Laws Count as a Substantial Change in Conditions to Modify Child Support?
In 2016, Illinois introduced a new model of calculating child support, called the Income Shares Model. This model makes Illinois the 40th state to adopt an Income Shares model, and creates a more comprehensive and equitable method of determining child support.
(To learn all about these new laws and to estimate your Illinois child support, check out our Illinois Child Support Calculator.)
This significant change to Illinois Child Support law means that many Illinois families will experience a more detailed and comprehensive legal process when they determine their child support. This change can also mean that Illinois families who are modifying their existing child support agreement may find that their child support is determined under a new set of guidelines.
However, these new laws also raise the question of what qualifies a parent to have their existing child support agreement reassessed and modified. If your divorce was finalized prior to the introduction of these new laws, can your existing child support agreement be modified under the new laws?
We'll break it down for you below.
When Can My Illinois Child Support Agreement be Modified?
The ability to reassess and modify your existing Illinois child support agreement often comes down to one main, decisive factor: whether you have a substantial change in circumstances.
In Illinois, parents must show a substantial change in circumstances when petitioning for the ability to modify their child support agreement. Substantial change, in most instances, means a change in income, change in parenting time, or any other significant shift in one or both parents' financial status.
Does the Change in Illinois Child Support Laws Count as a Substantial Change?
What many Illinois parents are probably wondering is whether these changes to Illinois child support law alone are considered substantial enough to qualify them for a modification in their original child support agreement. Basically, can a change in law alone allow them to modify their agreement? Furthermore, how can the new income shares model help or hurt them?
In the broadest sense, a change in law alone is not considered substantial enough to justify the modification of an existing child support order.
However, that doesn't always mean that child support modification is off the table for and your family, or that it might not become an option in the future.
What Are My Options for Modifying My Illinois Child Support Agreement?
Many Illinois families find that aside from the introduction of new Illinois child support laws, their own financial situations may have also changed throughout the past few years. In some instances, even if the change in law alone doesn't constitute a substantial change in circumstances, their own financial changes can be considered enough to warrant a modification of child support.
So long story short -- If you are an Illinois parent with an existing Illinois child support agreement, don't automatically rule out the possibility of child support modification. It may still be in the cards for you. For a comprehensive analysis of your case and to explore your legal options, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney who practices in the jurisdiction of your case.
Not every family law and child support situation is black and white, and there is a degree of subjectivity to any family's situation. Because Illinois family laws are so extensive, complex cases of child support may require the detailed analysis of a family law attorney who understands these laws to the fullest extent. Fortunately, most standard family law firms offer free consultations so you can sit down with an attorney and discuss your legal options without incurring a fee for your consultation.
Looking to Modify Your Existing Illinois Child Support? Contact DuPage County Family Law Attorneys
If you or a loved one are looking to modify your existing Illinois child support agreement, seeking to implement a new child support agreement, or looking for representation on another family law matter, the dedicated family law attorneys at Dolci & Weiland may be able to help you. We've worked closely with numerous family law clients throughout DuPage County and Illinois, and we pride ourselves in offering personalized legal representation tailored to each individual's unique family law needs.
To schedule your free family law consultation, please contact our law office at (630) 261-9098.