Life after divorce goes on for parents in the St. Charles area, with all its ups and downs. This includes the possibility that a parent may one day be unable to meet their child support obligations. If so, they may wish to modify their existing child support order. There are two ways to modify a child support order in Illinois. Depending on the circumstances, either a judicial modification or an administrative modification may be sought.

Judicial child support orders can only be changed by a judge. These modifications we generally only be changed if it can be shown that there was a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change in circumstances may exist if the child’s financial needs change, if the paying or receiving parent’s financial situation changes, if either parent remarries, if there was a change to a child custody or parenting time order, if the child has been emancipated or if the child’s resources substantially change, for example, through an inheritance.

Keep in mind that this list is not all-exhaustive, so it is important to seek legal advice to determine if you can seek a modification of a judicial child support order. Also, keep in mind that all current orders will remain in place until changed, so continue paying what you owe each month until the modification is awarded.

The Division of Child Support Services oversees administrative child support modifications. They will review child support orders to make sure the order is in compliance with Illinois law and changing circumstances. DCSS will review and may modify an order if: the noncustodial parent has experienced a substantial change in income; three years has passed since the child support order was either executed or last reviewed; healthcare coverage is not addressed in the current order; or there a request for review has been made by either the paying parent, the nonpaying parent or another state.

Keep in mind that this is only an overview of child support modifications in Illinois, and ultimately a parent who wishes to modify an order or keep an order from being modified will want to seek the advice of a professional. Family law attorneys understand parents’ concerns in such situations and may be a useful resource.