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Illinois Child Support Modification

The amount of child support that a person is required to pay is based on a variety of factors, including expenses and parental income. However, it's possible that these factors can change over time, which is why there's an opportunity to modify a child support order. For example, if a father is paying a certain amount of money, but can no longer afford it because he loses his job, he can try filing for a modification of child support. If approved, it could result in a reduction in his child support obligation.

Judicial vs. Administrative Child Support Orders

In Illinois, a child support order can be issued through a judicial or administrative process. A judicial child support order can only be modified through the courts. The most common reason for a modification is when there's a "substantial change in circumstances." It's important to remember, however, that you must continue paying the amount ordered by the court until a modification is entered.

An administrative child support order is modified through the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), an agency of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), which is responsible for conducting modification reviews of child support orders. These reviews are meant to ensure that child support orders comply with the state's laws and changing circumstances. A child support order can be reviewed for administrative modification when one of the following conditions exist:

  • There's a substantial change in the income of the non-custodial parent;
  • A minimum of 3 years has passed since the order was entered or the time it was reviewed for modification;
  • The order doesn't address the child's healthcare coverage; or
  • There's a written review request from either parent or another state.

Illinois Child Support Modification at a Glance

There's value to reading the literal language in a statute, but it's helpful to also see the statute in plain English. The chart below provides you with a helpful overview of child support modification laws in Illinois.


Illinois Statutes Chapter 750 Section 5/510 (Modification and Termination)

When a Child Support Order Can Be Modified

Generally, a child support order can be modified when there's a "showing of substantial change." There are circumstances, however, when an order can be modified without showing a substantial change. These circumstances are:

  • If there's a showing of an inconsistency of at least 20% (but not less than $10/month) between the amount of the existing order and the amount of child support that would result from applying of the guidelines outlined in Section 5/505 unless the inconsistency in the existing order is because there was a deviation from the guideline amount*; or
  • if there's a showing that there's a need to provide for the child's health care needs.

*This only applies to instances when the child support enforcement is done by HFS and only if it's been at least 36 months since the order was last entered or modified.

What's Considered Substantial Change?

The court generally has broad discretion to decide if there's been a substantial change in circumstances. Some things that would qualify as a substantial change include:

  • increases in the cost of living or needs of the child;
  • increases or decreases in the financial ability of the parent ordered to pay or the parent receiving the payment;
  • remarriage of either parent;
  • changes in the parenting time and custody;
  • emancipation of a child; or
  • changes in the child's resources (i.e. receiving a large inheritance).

Related Statute(s)

Illinois Statutes Chapter 750:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Illinois Child Support Modification: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Child Support Modification in Illinois

It's important that your child support payments are the right amount to support the care of your child. Sometimes circumstances change and the amount in the original child support order is no longer appropriate. If you think you need your child support modified, it's a good idea to get in touch with a skilled child support attorney in Illinois who will be well-versed in the state's child support modification laws and how they affect your particular situation.

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