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Seeking a Child Support Order Modification: The 20 Percent Rule

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Child Support

child support, order modification, Illinois Family Law AttorneyWhen you are subject to a court order regarding child support, it is obviously very important to meet your required obligations. Your child deserves, at the very least, financial support from both parents, and your payments are intended to help provide him or her with basic necessities including a home, food, and clothing. As time goes on, however, the life situations change. Some changes may be dramatic, such as the loss of a job or serious illness, while others are more gradual, including a rising cost of living and the child’s evolving needs. For this reason, the law in Illinois permits the modification of child support orders to adapt to changing situations.

Significant Change in Circumstances

The most obvious basis for a child support order modification is a drastic change in the life of either parent or the child. A sudden loss of income can make it extremely difficult for you to continue making your required payments. Similarly, if your child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, his or her financial needs may change significantly in a very short period of time. In such cases, either parent may petition the court for an order modification, while showing the significant change in circumstances and the need for reconsideration.

20 Percent Inconsistency

The basic formula for calculating child support is found in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and relies primarily on two factors: the net income of the paying parent and the number of children to be supported. The needs of each parent and the child, along with available resources, and other contributing factors are also to be considered by the court, allowing for an increase or decrease to the ordered amount as appropriate.

Absent a significant change in circumstances, either parent may also petition for an order modification if a recalculation using the paying parent’s current income would result in a 20 percent difference from the existing order. To be considered, the 20 percent difference would need to equal at least $10 or more per month. If, however, the inconsistency is due to the court’s recognition of circumstantial difficulties which reduced the ordered payments, and the circumstantial difficulties still exist, the modification will not likely be granted.

If you are paying or receiving child support and you believe your case qualifies for a modification review, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we are committed to helping families serve the best interests of their children while meeting the parents’ needs as well.  Call 630-409-8184 for a consultation with our compassionate legal professionals.


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


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

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