How Can Child Support Be Decreased?

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a payer has the ability to come back into court if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, whereby child support should go down. The perfect example of this is if someone is making $50,000 per year when the court order originally was entered, and now that party is making $25,000 per year. This is a significant drop in income.

This changes the percentage of child support that is mandated under the act, and if the proper party brings the right motion and shows proof to the court that income has changed significantly downward, then very well there might be a reduction in the amount of child support that they have to pay.

Now, there are several factors that go into this. There has to be a substantial decrease in income. It has to be brought by Notice of Motion, served on the other party with an opportunity to appear and be heard, and then, of course, the court has to rule. Additionally, the change in circumstances has to be non-voluntary, for the most part. For example, let’s say someone is working and they make $50,000 per year, and then they lose their job and they pick up another job in the same field at $25,000 per year. As long as they did nothing to cause or provoke that decrease, then it’s a legitimate argument that their income went down.

If, on the other hand, you have someone who is making money and simply doesn’t want to pay child support and wants to do less than what they could, and basically wants to take their case and their obligation, then the court is going to say, “Hey, you brought this upon yourself. You did something that caused you to be fired, knowing that you’d be obligated to pay less in child support.”

So you have to come in with basically clean hands, that you did nothing wrong but circumstances have changed beyond your control to the point where you can’t pay the child support that you’re currently ordered to pay, or if you were to continue to pay the child support that you were ordered to pay, it would cause an extreme hardship, and it would be improper.

If you’re going to seek a decrease in child support, I would recommend that you have an experienced family law attorney who knows how to bring a proper motion, and who knows how to evaluate your paycheck stubs to determine what the proper amount of child support should be, vis-à-vis the current order for support.