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Modifying a Child Support Order

Please note that the legal information presented on this page is written for those living in the state of Illinois.

What does it mean?

Modifying a child support order is the process through which certain parts of a child support order are changed. Each time an order is modified, a new order is created.

There are two main reasons to modify a child support order:

1. Modifying the $ amount of child support owed

Depending on the situation, the amount of child support a person owes can increase or decrease. However, a judge will only decrease the amount of child support owed under very specific circumstances

Reasons for a judge to decrease the amount owed include:

  • you experienced a significant decrease in income (at least 20%) within THREE (3) YEARS of the original order
  • your employment status changed since the original order; or
  • you were diagnosed with a medical condition that affects your ability to earn money since the original order

Note: this information will generally also apply to alimony and cash-medical support payments.

2. Adding or removing children from a child support order

Multiple children can be listed on a single child support order. Generally speaking, each child listed on a child support order increases the amount of child support owed.

To add a child to a child support order, the parents listed on the order must be the legal parents of that child.

Every child support order has an end date (termination). This date is usually a child's 18th birthday or high school graduation.

If you find the amount owed in child support doesn't change after one of multiple children becomes an adult, you may have to modify the order to make sure the right amount owed. The only exception would be if the child has a disability and needs extra support.

Things You Should Know

  • A child support order issued within 30 days can possibly be modified though a motion to reconsider
  • Because child support is calculated based on income, a change in your expenses is generally not a reason to modify a child support order
  • Modifying a child support order will ONLY affect payments owed AFTER the new order is issued
  • Generally speaking, it's harder to modify past-due child support (arrears) than it is to modify current child support

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