When parental income is either significantly reduced or increased it could affect the amount of child support required to be paid in Illinois. Child support laws and guidelines can be complicated, and recent modifications to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) effective July 1, 2017, change the way child support in the state is calculated. While the new law alone does not constitute a basis for support modification, substantial changes in either parent’s income or other applicable circumstances might.

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infographic_Income Changes May Affect Child Support


Calculating Child Support in Illinois

Under the new law, the income of both parents and the expenses required to provide financial support for the child or children are taken into account when calculating child support payments. For example:

If it is determined that it would take $10,000 each year to provide for the children in the same manner that they would be provided for if the family were still intact, and the father is responsible for paying 60 percent of the support due he would pay $6,000 annually.

What Income Changes Qualify for Child Support Modification?

In Illinois, generally, only substantial changes in circumstances will warrant a modification in child support amounts. Examples of substantial changes in income include:

  • The loss of a job by either parent that significantly changes his or her ability to provide financially for the child in question can signal the need for a child support modification.
  • Long-term illness or injury of either the obligor or the recipient parent that causes a reduction in income can result in a modification.
  • Large raises or decreases in pay can enable a child support order to be modified. One-time bonuses or short-term reductions do not typically qualify as substantial circumstance changes.
  • The receipt of a very large inheritance, substantial lottery winnings or other major changes in financial resources can sometimes result in changes to a child support order in Illinois.
  • When either parent remarries, that in itself is not enough to modify child support. However, the court will evaluate any increases in financial obligations and the overall financial resources and circumstances of the new family to help determine if a modification should be made.

Even when these changes are realized, however, child support modifications cannot be made out of court. Any agreements that are made by the parents out of court are not enforceable.