Illinois Child Support Continued: Modification of a Support Order
During a divorce or legal separation, the law requires a number of considerations to be addressed before the proceedings may be completed. While arrangements regarding such issues as property division and spousal maintenance are certainly pertinent, child custody and visitation provisions, and child support orders are among the most important concerns for parent. Once established, a child support order is likely to remain in force for years into the future.
As discussed in a previous post, the terms of a child support order are established in accordance with state law, taking into account the family’s current situation. For a period of time, the initial order may work perfectly to address the needs of the involved children, relative to the financial resources and requirements of both parents. Life, however, can be unpredictable, and a family may find that an existing support order has become untenable or no longer appropriate for a number reasons. Fortunately, in many cases, Illinois law allows for the modification of a support order if and when the need should arise.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is responsible for overseeing child support awards in the state to ensure they are in accordance with the law and continue to meet the needs of involved families. At least every three years, DCSS is required to notify each parent affected by a support order of his or her right to request a modification review. An order may also qualify for a review under certain other conditions:
- The non-custodial parent has a significant change in income; or
- Healthcare coverage was not originally addressed in the order; or
- Either parent or another state requests a review in writing.
If a modification review is deemed appropriate, both parents will be required to revalidate their income information and provide other relevant documentation as necessary. Based on the information provided, DCSS will recalculate the support amount and notify both parents. If either parent disputes the results of the review, he or she may request another redetermination through DCSS, contest the findings in court, or request an administrative hearing.
All disputes must be filed with DCSS with 30 days of the decision notice. Once a modification review is completed and finalized by the court or an administrative agency, the support order is amended to reflect the modification. The amended order is enforceable under Illinois law and either parent’s failure to comply may result in penalties including probation and imprisonment.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office estimates that more than half a million Illinois children are currently affected by a child support case. If your children are among that number and you would like to have your support order considered for a modification review, we can help. Contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today and get the qualified representation you deserve.