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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

If you have recently been laid off, furloughed or terminated from your employment and you have a child support or maintenance obligation, you may want to consider the filing of a petition to modify those payments. Section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that child support and maintenance may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. However, the modification can only be made retroactive to the date of filing and notice.

No one is certain of the long-term ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. The length of a furlough, or layoff, or time between jobs may be longer than initially expected. Complying with court orders is required and regardless of the circumstances, the court can do nothing to reduce the amount that you will ultimately owe until you have a petition on file. Loss of employment under current conditions will most likely be considered a substantial change in circumstances. However, no relief can be granted unless it is asked for.  If circumstances do not improve, addressing the issue early may prevent financial catastrophe later. If all improve, the petition can be withdrawn. Do the best you can but protect yourself long-term.

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Wheaton child support modification lawyerAccording to Illinois law, both of a child’s parents must financially contribute to their child’s upbringing – even if the parents are unmarried or divorced. Illinois child support payment amounts are calculated using the “income shares” method. This method uses each parent’s net income and the amount of parenting time assigned to each parent to determine an appropriate child support order. If a parent wants to change the terms of the child support order, he or she will need to petition the court for a child support modification.   

Modification Reviews Through DCSS

Child support orders are eligible for a “modification review” every three years. The Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will notify parents of their right to request a review of their current child support order. When a parent requests a review through DCSS, each parent will be asked to submit financial documentation which will be used to determine whether a modification is necessary.  

Substantial Changes in Circumstances

If it has not yet been three years since the end of a couple’s divorce or the last time a child support modification review was conducted, parents will typically only be able to request a modification if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The following situations may qualify for a modification:


Wheaton divorce lawyer for child support enforcement and modificationChild support is intended to help unmarried or divorced parents share the cost of raising a child. Illinois takes child support orders very seriously. When a child support order is entered by the court, the payments are not optional. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, you can face serious penalties, which may include criminal charges. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to request a modification from the court.

Consequences of Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois

In Illinois, child support enforcement is managed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' (DHFS) Division of Child Support. Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, the DHFS monitors child support payments and ensures that child support orders are being followed. When a recipient parent is not receiving court-ordered child support payments, he or she may contact the DHFS for help. Once the DHFS is aware of the problem, the agency will take steps to collect the unpaid child support. If the non-paying parent is receiving public assistance, the DHFS can take funds directly from the parent’s public assistance benefits.

If you fail to pay child support, your wages may be garnished. This means money will be taken directly out of your paycheck. In addition, your tax returns may be intercepted, or your bank account may be seized. If you are more than 90 days behind on your child support, your driver’s license or any professional licenses that you have can be suspended. If you owe more than $5,000 of past-due child support, or if you have not paid in six months or more, you may even be charged with a criminal offense.


DuPage County child support attorney income shares

If you are a parent considering divorce, you may wonder how the state calculates child support payments. Which parent receives the support payments? How is child support related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time? Illinois uses an “income shares” method to formulate child support orders which are reasonable and appropriate for the financial circumstances of both parents. Read on to learn about the most important elements of Illinois child support orders and what you can do if you need to establish or modify child support in Illinois.

Illinois Recently Changed the Way it Determines Child Support

Significant changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in July 2017. Before the changes, child support was determined by applying a certain percentage to the paying parent’s net income based on the number of children needing support. For example, a parent with one minor child paid 20 percent of his or her income, and a parent with two children paid 28 percent of his or her income in child support. Child support orders that went into effect before the changes to the IMDMA may still be based on the old calculation method. However, child support orders may be eligible for modification if they meet certain criteria.


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If you are getting divorced and have children, your relationship with your ex is not going to be over as soon as the final divorce settlement is signed. If you earn a higher income than your ex-spouse, or if you will have the minority of the parenting time following divorce, you may be required to pay child support that will ensure that your children’s ongoing needs will be met. However, both parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children, so it is important to make sure all relevant factors are considered when calculating the amount of child support payments. This will ensure that children’s needs will be met and that the parents will both be able to support themselves. Some factors to take note of include:

Net Income for Both Parents

A basic support obligation will be determined that is based on the net income earned by both parents, and this amount is divided between the parents according to their percentage of the total household income. However, when determining the amount of each parent’s net income, it is important to understand what adjustments may be made. For example, if a parent is already paying child support for children from a previous relationship, the amount of this support will be deducted from their gross income.

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