In this article...
In this article, we will discuss the process of petitioning the court for more child support in Illinois. We will answer the following questions: when is it appropriate to petition for increased child support?, what forms will I need to include in my petition?, what do I do after filling out all the documents?, how do I prepare for the child support modification hearing?, what happens if my petition for child support modification is granted?, and what happens if my petition for child support modification is denied?
In this article, we will discuss the process of petitioning the court for more child support in Illinois. We will answer the following questions:
- When is it appropriate to petition for increased child support?
- What forms will I need to include in my petition?
- What do I do after filling out all the documents?
- How do I prepare for the child support modification hearing?
- What happens if my petition for child support modification is granted?
- What happens if my petition for child support modification is denied?
When Is It Appropriate To Petition For Increased Child Support?
Expenses fluctuate, especially when children are involved. The car breaks down; the hot water heater explodes; a child makes the travel soccer team; this year's bonus doesn't look so good. A little extra cash would be significant in any of the above situations, but none of them qualify as a legitimate reason to petition the court for more child support. The court requires a significant change in an individual's financial situation or an evident flaw in the current support order; examples include:
- Three years have passed since the establishment of the existing support rule;
- There is a substantial change in the non-custodial parent's income (an increase in revenue would warrant an increase in support);
- There is a significant change in the child's healthcare needs;
- The non-custodial parent is failing to meet his or her original support obligation;
- There is a substantial change in the child's educational needs (this item is debatable; for example, the other parent could argue against the need and additional cost of private school)
A common misconception is that if the non-custodial parent receives a significant inheritance, the custodial parent is entitled to an increase in child support. In most cases, inheritance does not warrant an increase in child support, especially if the inheritance is in one lump sum. If the non-custodial parent receives a monthly stock dividend or payment from a trust fund, the custodial parent may have legal ground to petition for increased child support.
What Forms Will I Need To Include In My Petition?
There are many forms involved in petitioning for child support modification; each must be filled out correctly or the petitioner risks having their petition delayed or denied. For this reason, we highly suggest working with an attorney to ensure you achieve the desired support modification. The required forms include:
- Petition for Modification of Child Support
- Certificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child Support
- Child Support Information Sheet
- Notice of Hearing
- Order Modifying Child Support
- Order for Support
- Certificate of Mailing Notice Hearing
- A Summons letting the other person know you're filing a lawsuit against them.
What Do I Do After Filling Out All The Forms?
If you had no assistance when filling out the forms, make sure to review them with an attorney. Once you're confident that everything is correct, you'll need to file the papers with the circuit clerk. Again, if you're not sure which circuit clerk, ask your attorney or call the local courthouse. Illinois requires you electronically file the forms unless you have an exemption. The forms should be filed at the courthouse in the county where the original child support order was entered. If neither of you lives in the area where the original child support order was entered, you may be able to file in the area you live now.
After filing the correct documents, the next step is informing the other parent about your petition to modify the child support agreement. Like most law processes, you can't just call the other person and let them know about your petition. You will need to complete the following:
- Mail a stamped copy of the petition to the other party;
- File a Certificate of Mailing Petition for Modification of Child Support with the circuit clerk. The circuit clerk will certify the date the form was mailed and the address to which it was sent;
- Lastly, you must mail a stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing to the other party.
If the other parent agrees to waive the mail notice and agrees to the terms of the petition, they must sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent form. For the other parent's consent to be valid, they must have seen a copy of the petition and a copy of the order modifying child support, and their signature on the above documents must be notarized.
If, in addition to child support, you are receiving cash assistance from HFS or the I-VD services helped you secure child support, a petition for modification of child support must be sent to HFS.
After you mailed all the appropriate forms, you must request a hearing date for your child support modification. In some cases, the court automatically picks a hearing date and time, but you'll typically have the option to choose. If your county does not notify the other parent, you must do so by completing and sending the notice of hearing form to the other parent and filing the certificate with the county clerk.
How Do I Prepare For The Child Support Modification Hearing?
Use the petition for modification of child support as your guide for preparing your testimony. You'll be giving testimony about all the facts in your petition (mostly regarding your change in circumstances) and what you would like the court to do (increase child support). Ensure that your testimony lines up with your petition for modification, or the court may call your motives into question. With you at court, you'll need:
- A photo ID;
- Documents pertinent to the case that you plan to give to the judge
- All the documents you filed with the circuit clerk;
- Witnesses that will testify
Your attorney can coach you on what to present in your testimony, but in general, when petitioning for increased child support, your testimony will include the following points:
- Your name and address;
- The other party's name and address;
- The names and birthdates of the children;
- Where the children live (this would be your residence if your petitioning for more support);
- Discuss how much income the other parent earns and where it comes from;
- Your income and where it comes from;
- The change necessitating the modification of child support order; or if it is a review and request for support after three years, detail all changes related to financials;
- Discuss how much you currently receive in support and why it should be increased; and
- Be clear on what you want the number to be and why
What Happens If My Petition For Child Support Modification Is Granted?
If the judge elects to grant your petition, present your Order for Modification of Child Support and Order of Support to be signed. You will need to mail a copy of these forms to the other parent. You may also need to complete a Notice To Withhold Income For Child Support, depending on the situation. You will need to get certification that you have mailed and filed these forms, just as you did with previous forms.
What Happens If My Petition For Child Support Modification Is Denied?
If the judge doesn't initially approve your petition, don't panic. Many times the judge will ask for more information before approving your petition. You can mail this additional information. If the judge denies your petition citing lack of evidence, you'll need to wait until circumstances change enough to file another petition. The court will not reconsider a modification on the same terms. If the petition was denied due to a procedural error on your part, fix the error and request another hearing.