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Can an Illinois child support order be changed?

An Illinois court order requiring a parent to pay monthly child support can seem like an additional expense beyond one’s ability to cover. If this describes the situation of you or someone you know, you be wondering whether you petition the court for a modification of your support obligation. A modification to a child support order in Illinois depends, among other things, whether there has been a change in circumstances that a court would consider substantial.

Illinois courts are interested in fairness, equity, and accurate fact-finding. This is true in the case of child support modification cases as well as any, as illustrated by a recent opinion issued by the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois. In that case, after the parties entered into an agreement for joint parenting of their three minor children, the court ordered joint custody.

In subsequent proceedings, the court ultimately ordered the father to pay $3,200 per month in child support in addition to additional expenses. However, where the father had been unable to present facts sufficient to accurately prove his financial circumstances, the decision remained in force until a subsequent hearing was held on his motion to reduce child support. The court then found new evidence that revealed a change of circumstances to the father’s financial circumstances, which justified a reduction to his child support order. This change, however, had occurred before the final support order.

The mother appealed that decisions but the appellate court affirmed the child support order reducing the amount owed by the father. In Illinois, a change in circumstances cannot be based on a voluntary change to the obligor’s employment unless the change is made “in good faith and not to evade his financial responsibility to his children.” The court in this case held that a decision to close a personal business due to difficult financial circumstances, made in good faith, could contribute to a court’s finding of a change in employment. Such a change, if occurring before a final judgment of dissolution, could be considered in the calculation of the court’s award.

This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice applicable to any particular case or circumstance.

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