The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

IL divorce lawyerIf there have been changes to your child’s needs or a parent’s financial situation, modifying your child support order might be necessary. An Illinois child support order can be reviewed for modification every three years. Still, if there are significant changes in circumstances, the court may allow the modification to happen before the three-year mark. You must file the correct paperwork when deciding to make modifications. A child support attorney can help.

Grounds for Modification

The court will then listen to your case if it has one of the following:

  • A substantial change in either parent’s financial situation
  • It has been at least three years since the child support plan was put into order
  • If the previous order did not address healthcare coverage for the child
  • If a written request is for review by DCSS from a custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or another state

Reasons For Modifications

Child support orders can only be modified if there have been considerable changes in circumstances. This may need clarification, as the law does not explicitly outline what that could mean. Below are a few examples of changes that may require child support modifications.


aurora divorce lawyerChild support in Illinois terminates at age 18 or high school graduation. Since January 1, 2016, codified in Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, divorced parents have been obligated to contribute to their non-minor child’s education and living expenses. However, these agreed-upon contributions, stated in the divorce decree, can be modified. For instance, a modification is likely if one parent is incapable of contributing payment because of unemployment or illness. If a financially able parent default on payment, then that parent can be held in contempt of court.          

Negotiating the tuition and living expenses of a non-minor child can be acrimonious. A family law attorney who understands the complexities of child support can help draft a modification or enforce a prearranged tuition agreement in the divorce decree.

Seven Terms of Section 513 of the Illinois Law

  1. The funds from a 529 account, which appropriates money for higher education, can help with payment for tuition and living expenses.


Yorkville Child Support AttorneyWhether you are the parent who pays child support or you receive child support payments, you may be interested in modifying your child support order at some point. Illinois law only allows adjustment of the child support order under certain circumstances. If you need help asking the court for a child support modification, do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney experienced in child support matters.

Illinois Child Support Modification

If your child support order was established through an administrative process, rather than the courts, you can request a modification through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). By default, Illinois parents with administrative child support orders are eligible for a modification review every three years. If it has been less than three years since the child support order was established or last modified, the parent requesting a modification review will need to justify the request. One of the most common reasons for a modification review request is a change in the financial circumstances of either party. For example, if a parent is laid off from work, he or she may not be able to afford the same level of support as he or she could afford when he or she was working.

Another reason a parent may need to modify child support is a significant increase in the child’s financial needs. For example, if a child is diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, a parent may be required to pay more support to help cover medical expenses.


b2ap3_thumbnail_kane-county-child-support-lawyer.jpgRaising children can be one of the most rewarding, joyful things a person ever does. However, any honest parent will also tell you that raising children can be a never-ending, thankless task. Children are always hungry, they break things they know they are not allowed to touch, and they have a knack for putting holes in new shoes and clothing - in other words, kids are expensive. If you are divorced or are co-parenting with someone you were never married to, child support payments are often a crucial source of income for your children’s ongoing needs. An ex’s failure to pay child support may not only be frustrating, but terrifying - if you cannot make rent, what will you do? Desperation can lead many parents to wonder if they can withhold parenting time from a parent who refuses to pay child support.

Child Support and Parenting Time Are Not Conditional Upon Each Other

Perhaps unfortunately for those trying to recover lost support money, parenting time may never be withheld as a consequence for unpaid child support. These are two separate issues under Illinois law, and one cannot be used as an incentive for the other. Courts will not prevent a parent from seeing their child because they have not paid child support, because to do so would punish the children for something they have no responsibility for or control over. In fact, trying to withhold parenting time can result in court sanctions against the parent who does this.

How Can I Get Unpaid Child Support? 

Just as Illinois courts view parenting time as essential to a child’s wellbeing, they also view child support in the same way - and there are ways to recover child support that do not harm a child’s relationship with their parent or put you at risk of court sanctions. The first step is to file a petition with a court to enforce child support obligations. A court can then ask the paying parent why he or she stopped making payments and use various tools - including fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time - to punish continued non-payment. Illinois also has a Division of Child Support Services that exists to help parents get the child support they need. An attorney can help you pursue whichever option is likely to result in the fastest, most effective recovery for your case. 



Popular wisdom holds that once a child turns 18, a divorced parent no longer has to pay child support. Although in many cases this is true, in Illinois children of divorced parents may lay claim to child support that continues for several years after a child reaches legal adulthood.

Divorced parents can be required by Illinois family courts to contribute to their child’s college expenses. Illinois is something of an outlier in this regard, but the courts have consistently upheld this responsibility, even when parents have challenged it. Considering that the cost of college can be significantly more than a down payment on a home, the prospect of paying for a child’s college involuntarily can be concerning. If you are divorced or plan on getting divorced in Illinois, it is essential to understand your future financial obligations for non-minor child support. 

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to Top