Child support modifications may be necessary for a variety of reasons.? If you have been considering modifying your child support payments, either as a custodial or non-custodial parent, there are several things you need to consider.? Child support is ALWAYS modifiable, but you need to understand the different types of orders for child support, qualifying circumstances for modification, and the limitations of child support orders.
Administrative and Judicial Child Support Orders
Different types of child support orders exist depending on the nature of your case.? For administrative orders, you may be eligible to request a modification review through the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.? Please be aware, however, that DCSS cannot provide legal advice and is prohibited from addressing visitation, custody, or monetary issues that extend beyond the payment of child support.? It is best to consult an experienced lawyer to help guide you through the process and ensure that you achieve the best possible results for your unique situation.
Judicial child support orders can only be modified through the courts and must be signed by a judge to be enforceable.? You should never make out-of-court agreements to modify support payments, even if you have good faith that the modification will be honored.? It is extremely important to seek legal counsel and get all agreements in writing.? You should also be sure to keep accurate records of payments.
** If you have already made the mistake of agreeing to an out-of-court child support modification, contact a lawyer immediately to remedy the situation.
Qualifying Circumstances for Child Support Modification
Child support payments may be increased or decreased in the event of a ?substantial change in circumstances.?? A child support order may qualify for modification if any of the following are true:
- There has been a significant change in the needs of the child.
- There has been a substantial change in the non-custodial parent?s income.
- The existing order does not address healthcare for the child.
- A member of the Military Reserve or National Guard who is mobilized or activated for long-term continuous military active duty orders requests a modification review.
- At least three (3) years have passed since the establishment of an administrative order or the last DCSS modification review
- A modification review may be requested by a custodial parent or caretaker, a non-custodial parent, Healthcare and Family Services, or another state?s child support agency.
Limitations of Child Support Orders
Please be aware that documentation of child support orders can be subject to interpretation and may lack certain provisions.? An expert lawyer will be able to examine your child support order to determine if changes can or should be made. Whether you are a custodial parent seeking an increase in support payments, or a non-custodial parent seeking a decrease, you should know that there are limitations set forth by most child support orders:
- Although child support increases may sometimes be made retroactively, reductions cannot be retroactive ? court orders for modification can only effect future payments.
- You may not get full credit for overpayments.? Traditionally, the law in Illinois does not grant credit for voluntary overpayments of child support.? You can still protect yourself financially, but you will need to consult an attorney to look for exceptions.
- There are specific thresholds that must be satisfied before the courts will consider a request for a child support payment increase.
- Undocumented agreements between parents may not be enforceable. ?Again, out-of-court agreements are highly unadvisable.? Be sure that all modifications are properly documented and legally supported.
The moral of the story is that child support modifications can be extremely complex.? If you feel that your existing child support agreement needs to be adjusted for any reason,?contact the experienced family law advocates at Sherer Law Offices for a consultation.? We will review your case and provide you with options for your unique situation.