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Child support obligations are not set in stone

Child support is a critical issue in any divorce. Whether you expect to pay child support or hope to receive it, child support will have a major financial impact on your life and the lives of your children. In Illinois, courts consider the respective incomes, assets and financial circumstances of each parent to determine a monthly child support payment. However, financial circumstances change.

Why would you want to modify your child support?

Let's say you're a single mother working in the insurance industry and the father of your child is a construction worker. Maybe your ex was in between jobs when you got your divorce, so his income was significantly lower than yours. Even though you're the custodial parent, the judge ordered your ex to pay just $200 a month in child support.

The thing is, your ex is now a general contractor with his own construction company and he's making tens of thousands of dollars each month. Can you go to the court and ask that he pay more money in child support?

Yes, you certainly can. Child support payments are not set in stone and if there is a significant change in the non-custodial parent's income, you can request a child support modification. The noncustodial parent might request a modification to lower his or her obligation in the event that he suffers a drop in income. Alternatively, the custodial parent might request to increase the payment obligation in the event that the noncustodial parent experiences an increase in income.

Is it time to review your child support orders?

In the state of Illinois, parents can request a review of child support orders every three years. They can also request a review in the event of a "significant change in the needs of the child or the non-custodial parent's income." Before a modification gets approved, the court will perform a review of bank account balances, employment status of the parents and other important information.

The parent who would suffer the negative consequences of a request for child support modification may try to fight the modification in court. For this reason, parents in need of a child support modification can benefit from using an experienced Cook County family law attorney who is familiar with the filing and litigating of child support modification requests. An attorney will help you formulate your request for modification in a way that maximizes your chances of success.

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