Child support can be modified under the provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, provided there is a significant change in circumstances. What is a significant change in circumstances? Let me give you an example. If child support was awarded based on income of $1,000 per month at 20 percent, which would be $200 per month, and then several months later or several years later, that payer, instead of making $1,000 per month is now making $2,000 per month. Under those circumstances, the recipient has the right, under the Act, to go back into court and seek a modification of child support, based on the increase in income that the payer has been receiving.
This is done as a post-decree matter. You will typically need representation. You will have to prepare the proper motion, have it served upon your ex, and have it brought before the court for a hearing. Typically, the other side is going to want time to respond and then set it for hearing. There might be limited discovery in terms of disclosing income taxes, paycheck stubs, and proof of all other sources of income, to determine what the proper amount of child support is going to be.
This is something that we see common with divorces where there were minor children, and there is going to be a long issue of child support post-decree. For example, if the parties divorced when the minor child is two, you typically have 16 years of an obligation to pay support. Someone’s income is typically going to change, either higher or lower, many times during that 16-year period.
Now, the payer also has the ability, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, to come into court and seek a reduction in child support, based on a change of circumstances. So the same law that provides the recipient to come back into court and seek a change also allows the payer to come back into court and seek a change, provided things have changed substantially.