In this article, you will discover:
- What determines who is responsible for paying child support in Illinois
- How child support may be modified
The short answer to who pays child support is the non-custodial parent unless specific exceptions are present. But this is the standard – the non-custodial parent is the one who is going to be responsible for paying child support. Still, technically, both parents owe an obligation to support their child financially. It’s just that the person who is losing money, that’s having money taken out of their check or having money sent directly to the other parent, is the non-custodial parent.
Some of the extenuating circumstances are if the non-custodial parent earns a lot less than the other parent, the non-custodial parents’ support obligation might be zero or $10 or $50 or something like that, or the custodial parent might owe money to the non-custodial parent.
I never bring this up because, for us mere mortals, it’s never going to happen, but let’s just say, for example, you are an NBA star, earning multi-millions of dollars, and the mother of your child is not earning anything. So, the court will say, well, if you guys were together, that child would undoubtedly benefit from your millions of dollars of income. But, now you are not with the Mom, so the Mom is not going to be able to facilitate that type of lifestyle, and also, she is going to incur incidentals during the day that she can’t afford when she has the child. So, you have to give her something. I don’t want to say it’s going to be millions of dollars or half or anything along those lines, but it will be more than someone who is just earning a typical salary.
Now, things could be different; for example, the custody arrangement was 50/50. So, the support might be zero in that case because the courts will decide both of you have the kids the same amount of time. You are not incurring additional costs in rearing that child than the other parent. Therefore, to keep it equal, we’ll keep it zero.
When A Custody Or Support Order Can Be Modified In Illinois?
Any time there is a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to request a modification for custody or support. So, what does that mean, and how long does it take to have a substantial change in circumstances? Unfortunately, it’s whatever the judge decides. So, the horror story I had was that two parents agreed to an allocation judgment, a parenting plan, and a marital settlement agreement. It was a super contentious case, but we got it done by agreement. Then, two or three months later, the Mom filed a motion to modify the parenting plan based on her change in circumstances – moving out of the marital residence which was contemplated in the settlement! – and the court agreed that there was a change in circumstances.
When you finally get to a settlement, it will be because of a set of compromises, and allowing a modification that early after a settlement doesn’t make sense. But the judge disagreed with me and thought it did qualify as a change. That just goes to show you that many parts of the law are up to interpretation based on the eyes of the judge.
Generally though, a change in circumstances typically ranges from non-payment of child support to the child getting older, which is a time issue there. So, people used to think every two years, you automatically get your support modified. But, no, you have to motion the court for a modification.
But if there have been two years or a year, just children getting older, the case law has recognized this as a change in circumstances. So, you can certainly do that, and the theory is that as kids get older, they cost more to rear, which can be allow for a modification.
Change in circumstances is non-payment of support could be one, the increase in income, decrease in income, children getting older, moving to a new home, getting married to another person of a different relationship. All of those could be changes in circumstances, so it really just varies, but just something different is really what it is. it’s the same for support, custody, parenting time, or visitation. A change could also be going to a new school or getting a scholarship for a different school. So, a child custody or support order may be modified any time a change in circumstances is not dependent upon time contrary to popular belief.
For more information on Child Support Obligations in Illinois State, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (312) 772-3346 today.