Modifying Child Support in Illinois

Child support can be a highly contentious issue. Here’s everything you need to know about how to modify child support in Illinois.

Illinois law’s shared-income model for calculating child support uses both spouses’ combined income and overnight parenting time. A parent desiring to modify child support must file the required forms, notify the other parent, and prove a substantial change occurred.

How Do I Modify Child Support in Illinois?

1. Fill Out the Required Forms

A parent desiring child support modification should fill out the following forms:

  • Petition for Modification of Child Support,
  • Certificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child Support,
  • Hearing Notice,
  • Child Support Information Sheet,
  • Certificate of Mailing Hearing Notice,
  • Order for Support,
  • Order Modifying Child Support, and
  • Summons

The parent should make three copies of each form.

2. File the Required Forms with the Court

The parent must electronically file (e-file) the forms with the courthouse in the county where the court issued the original Child Support Order.

The parent should file the following documents with the clerk:

  • Petition for Modification of Child Support (the original and two copies),
  • Child Support Information Sheet, and
  • Application for Waiver of Court Fees (if applicable).

The parent should attach a copy of the original Child Support Order to each petition.

3. Notify the Other Parent of the Child Support Modification Request

The parent must notify the other parent of the child support modification request.

The parent must complete the following actions:

  • File a Certificate of Mailing Petition for Modification of Child Support with the circuit clerk corroborating the mail’s date and intended address,
  • Mail a stamped copy of the petition to the other parent, and
  • Mail a stamped Certificate of Mailing copy to the other parent.

The other parent can waive the petitioning parent’s mail notice and agree to the petition’s terms. The agreeing parent must sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent Form, which the courthouse clerk’s office offers.

The petitioning parent must send a stamped copy of the Petition for Modification of Child Support to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and file the Certificate of Mailing a Petition for Modification of Child Support with the court under certain circumstances.

The petitioning parent must complete the additional actions if:

  • The parent receiving child support receives monetary assistance from HFS, or
  • The IV-D Services helps the parent receiving child support obtain the original Child Support Order.

The petitioning parent must mail a stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child Support to the HFS office as well.

The notified parent must review a copy of the petition and Order Modifying Child Support. The petitioning parent must notarize the recipient parent’s signature.

Related: Child Support Termination in Illinois

4. Set a hearing date for the Child Support Modification Request

The petitioning parent may choose the hearing date and time to file the forms electronically depending on the website used. A parent should contact the court clerk if the website does not allow the parent to pick the date. A parent must fill out and send a Notice of Hearing form to the other parent if the county does not notify them. The parent must file the Certificate of Mailing of Notice of Hearing with the court clerk to verify the mailing date.

5. Attend the Hearing for Child Support Modification

The judge will listen to each party’s case before making a decision. The petitioning parent must prove a substantial change has occurred to reduce or increase the child support total.

A substantial change may constitute:

  • Parental job loss,
  • Parental salary decrease,
  • Increase in recipient parent’s income,
  • Changes in the child’s needs and expenses, or
  • Any additional factor relevant to the case.

The 2016 change to the child support calculation model is not grounds for modifying child support. The petitioning parent must successfully demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances to alter the child support amount.

The judge granting the petition will sign the Order for Modification of Child Support and Order for Support forms. The petitioning parent must send stamped copies of both orders to the recipient parent and file the Certificate of Mailing with the court clerk.

The court may require the receiving parent to file a Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support. The parent should mail a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support to the other parent’s employer. The employer can begin to deduct the child support from the paying parent’s paycheck upon receiving the Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support. The petitioning parent should file an Affidavit of Service of Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support with the clerk to prove they mailed the Notice.

Related: DIY Divorce in Illinois: Divorce Without Lawyers

Child Support Calculation in Illinois

Illinois utilizes the shared-income model to calculate child support in Illinois. The shared-income model combines both parents’ income to reflect the spouses’ former shared household salary. Child support involves both parents, but the paying parent is the only one who contributes funds. The dynamic exists because the parent receiving child support already uses personal funds to care for the child in the home.

Illinois considers overnight parenting time to calculate child support. A parent who spends less time with the child can decrease child support if the child stays overnight at least 146 nights. Overnight parenting time may represent a substantial change in circumstances because the parent proves the child receives significant support in the home.

FAQs About How to Modify Child Support in Illinois

What if I cannot locate my ex-spouse to notify them of my child support modification request?

A parent can consult the court file or original Child Support Order to obtain the other parent’s current mailing address. The parent may also call the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ phone number at (800) 447-4278.

Do I have to file the required documents electronically in Illinois?

A petitioning parent who qualifies for an exemption does not have to e-file the documents. The parent should fill out the Certification for Exemption form.

How long does modifying child support take in Illinois?

Child support modification in Illinois depends on the case’s specific circumstances. Modifying child support should take around six months. However, busy court schedules and improper behavior from one or both party’s can extend the child support modification beyond a year.

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If you or a loved one would like to learn more about how to modify child support in Illinois, get your free consultation with one of our child support attorneys today!