Many people who get divorced in Illinois think that the entry of the final judgment is the end of the process. Unfortunately, life circumstances often change at unexpected times and in unexpected ways, especially if the couple had children while they were married. One of the changes that can be most disruptive is a change in the economic circumstances of one of the child’s parents that necessitates a possible revision of the original order for child support.

All child support orders in Illinois are eligible for review every three years or when the income of the non-custodial parent changes. Also, either parent can request a review of the existing order. The party seeking the change must demonstrate a substantial change in the financial circumstances of the other party. A substantial change could involve the loss of a job or a significant promotion that might increase the income of the non-custodial parent. A severe health crisis might also constitute a substantial change.

Courts rely on a list of factors to determine if one party has experienced a substantial change in circumstances. These include increases in the child’s cost of living or other needs, change in the financial circumstances of the parent ordered to pay support, remarriage of either parent, emancipation of the child, or changes in the child’s resources, such as receiving a large inheritance. Courts have wide latitude to give greater or lesser weight to these factors, depending upon the parties’ particular circumstances.

Anyone wondering about the adequacy of the child support order in their divorce case may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney for advice on the specific circumstances of the case, the nature of the evidence of substantial change that is available, and the likelihood of persuading the judge to amend the existing order.