Tag Archives: DuPage County child support lawyer

How Can a Child Support Order Be Modified in Illinois?

DuPage County child support modification attorneyAfter you have gone through divorce and are paying or receiving child support, there may come a time when you believe the amount you pay or the child receives should be adjusted. In Illinois, this may be done through a modification review process.

When Can I Have My Child Support Order Modified?

Under Illinois family law, an order for child support is eligible for modification review every three years, or when there is a significant change in either parent’s income or in the needs of the child. In the case of a three-year review, a parent will receive a letter from the agency in charge, informing them of the right to request a review.

Who Conducts the Modification Review?

Modification reviews of child support orders in Illinois are done by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The agency is tasked with the responsibility to make sure child support orders are consistent with applicable Illinois law and changed circumstances involving all concerned.

What Are the Requirements for Child Support Modification Review?

To qualify for a modification, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • At least three years must have passed since the date child support order was issued or since the date of the decision from the last modification review.

  • There is a substantial change in the non-custodial parent’s income.

  • There is nothing in the order that addresses the child’s healthcare coverage.

  • There is a written communication received by DCSS from the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent, or an agency in another state requesting a review.

If you have requested the modification review, both you and your ex-spouse will receive a letter from DCSS stating whether the order qualifies for modification review or not. You should expect this letter in 30 days or less from when DCSS receives your request. If the order qualifies for modification, both you and your ex-spouse will be asked to provide information to be evaluated in determining whether your request should be granted.

What Happens After a Child Support Modification Review?

DCSS will analyze the information you and your ex-spouse provide to recalculate the amount of child support your child should receive. The results of the analysis will be sent to you by mail. This notice may state that the amount of child support payments will increase, decrease, or remain unchanged. If you disagree with the decision, the law allows you various ways you can have this decision itself reviewed.

An Experienced DuPage County Child Support Lawyer Can Help

Requesting and obtaining a child support modification can be a complicated process, especially when there are other issues that cannot be resolved by DCSS. To ensure that the decisions made will meet your family’s needs while protecting your financial resources, you should work with an attorney who is experienced in family law and understands how the child support modification review process works. If you believe there are good reasons why child support ordered in your case should be modified, our knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family law attorneys are ready to help you get the modifications you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.





Tax Refunds and Child Support Calculations

child support, DuPage County child support attorneysIllinois courts currently determine child support payments based on the non-custodial parent’s net income. A person’s “net income” means all income less statutorily specified deductions. A common deduction is for state and federal income taxes, which are generally withheld by the employer and paid directly to the government.

Of course, many of us end up receiving a tax refund each year because our employer withholds more than the final tax due. Is this refund therefore considered part of a person’s net income for purposes of child support? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is more complicated depending on the specific circumstances.

Court Finds Refund Not an Attempt to “Game” System

In fact, an Illinois appeals court recently addressed this very subject. The parties, in this case, divorced several years ago. At the time, they agreed the father would pay the mother 28 percent of his net income as child support. This percentage is consistent with Illinois guidelines for couples with two children.

A disagreement later arose over the father’s federal income tax refund in 2014. The father had “intentionally withheld taxes more than necessary” for several years, which later entitled him to significant refunds. For 2014, he received a refund of more than $14,000. The mother argued this refund constituted additional net income, and she was therefore entitled to 28 percent as child support.

The Illinois Third District Appellate Court, reviewing and supporting a trial judge’s earlier ruling, said the father did nothing wrong and rejected the mother’s demand. The appeals court noted this was not a case where the father was “gaming the system” by hiding income. To the contrary, the mother had already “stipulated” in open court to the amount of the father’s child support obligation the previous year, after she had access to copies of his 2014 tax returns. If she failed to properly account for his tax refund, that was her fault, according to the court.

The mother argued that even if she made a mistake, a person’s “tax refund should always be considered income for child support purposes.” The appeals court disagreed. The tax refund was “part of [the father's] net income for 2014–not an addition to it.” A tax refund is, as the court saw it, no different than “withdrawing money from a zero-interest savings account or digging it back out of a hole.”

Have a Question About Child Support?

The court did note that there may be cases where a tax refund should be treated as an addition to net income. This was simply not such a case, but could be the situation for other families. No two cases are exactly the same and your child support order must be calculated to meet your family’s needs.

However, ff you suspect your ex-spouse is trying to “game the system” and not live up to their child support obligations, you should speak with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney right away. Contact our offices at 630-871-1002 if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.




Enforcement of Out-of-State Child Support Orders

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support attorney,Enforcing a child support order when you and the supporting parent both live in the same state can be a hassle in and of itself. When the supporting parent moves to another state, the process can become even more confusing. Luckily, thanks to the standardization of child support laws throughout the country, states will typically assist you in enforcing a child support order issued by another state if the supporting parent is found to be located in that other state. Likewise, if you move after having been awarded child support and begin to reside in a new state, that new state will be able to assist you in enforcing your existing child support order.

Assistance with Enforcement May Not Necessarily Mean Assistance with Modification

Please take note: Just because a state will assist in enforcing an out-of-state child support order does not mean that the state will assist you in modifying that order. In many cases, the state that is requested to enforce an existing child support order will lack the jurisdiction over the other party to enter an order modifying the support order. For example, suppose that a supporting parent moves from Missouri, the state in which a child support order was issued against him or her and where the other parent and child reside. Suppose further that the supporting parent relocates to Illinois for a job. While the custodial parent could seek assistance from Illinois agencies in enforcing the Missouri child support order, the supporting parent would likely not be able to ask the Illinois courts to adjust the amount of support he or she needs to pay.

If the Supporting Parent Moves Away from Illinois

If the supporting parent moves away from Illinois, the Illinois Child Support Services (CSS) office can assist you in locating the supporting parent and taking enforcement measures against him or her. In this situation, the Illinois CSS would contact its equivalent agency in the state in which the supporting parent now resides on your behalf and can secure the cooperation of that state in enforcing the Illinois child support order. The agency and/or courts of the other state could take many of the same steps that an Illinois court could take to enforce the order if the supporting parent continued to reside in Illinois (contempt proceedings, license suspensions, etc.).

If the Custodial Parent Moves Away from Illinois

Even if you no longer live in Illinois but the supporting parent does, you can still request the Illinois Child Support Services office to assist you in enforcing your child support order. If the supporting parent eventually moves away from Illinois, either the Illinois CSS or the equivalent agency in your own state can assist you in locating the supporting parent and enforcing your order.

When to Call a Child Support Attorney

If you need assistance in enforcing or modifying an Illinois child support order, look no further than the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at our law firm. Contact either our Oswego, Wheaton or Chicago office and schedule a consultation with us today.