Financial issues involving children can be extremely contentious, especially after a difficult divorce. Even though child support obligations are set according to guidelines, parents can disagree over their percentages of the child support obligation under the new income shares model. When one parent seeks to modify a child support order, it can be hard to understand the situations in which the court will modify a support order. However, parents who need to modify their child support obligation should know that it is possible, and an experienced Cook County child support modification lawyer can help.
In order to understand how child support modifications work, it is important to understand first how child support works in Cook County. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Cook County courts now use what is known as the “income shares” model for child support. Rather than a noncustodial parent paying child support to the custodial parent—as child support used to work in the state—the statute now outlines a process through which both parents provide a percentage of the child support obligation.
Through the income shares model, the court combines the income of both parents and determines a child support amount based on guidelines. Then, it determines each parent’s percentage responsibility for that support obligation by looking at a number of different factors, including, for example, the income of the parties and the amount of time the child spends with each of the parties.
According to the statute, if a parent wants to modify a child support order, she or he typically must be able to show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances? The court usually considers these factors:
The court also has the discretion to modify child support when the child’s health care needs require additional expenses from one or both parents. There may be other situations in which the court will permit a modification of the child support obligation, but it is important to speak with a Cook County family lawyer about your case.
Any changes to your employment status or to your child’s health can be concerning in and of themselves, but such changes can be particularly difficult when they affect your child support obligation. While it can be difficult to modify a child support obligation, it is certainly possible when there is a substantial change in circumstances for one of the parents or for the child, as well as in other situations.
If you have questions about modifying your child support obligation, you should speak with a child support modification lawyer in Cook County as soon as possible. Contact Arami Law Office today to learn more about how we can assist you.
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