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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will examine how changes in a parent’s career can affect how much they pay or receive in child support in Illinois.  We will answer the following questions: will a change in income affect Illinois child support payments?, can a change in income make my child support go up?, and do you need to go to court to change child support?

For an overview of Illinois child support law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.

Will a Change in Income Affect Illinois Child Support Payments?

If a parent’s income or career has changed, they may be eligible for a change in their child support payments. If you agreed to a certain level of payment in your child support agreement, a change in income is one of the primary ways that your payments may be changed. If you are making less money, you may be able to reduce your payments based on a permanent or temporary decrease in your income.  This can come from a change such as losing your current job or being laid off from a seasonal position, which may change your income drastically. In order to have your payments reduced, you must show the court that that the change to your income is significant enough to impact your ability to pay the original payments you agreed to. Typically, this is accepted as an income decrease of at least 10%-15%.  The required level of change in income required varies significantly by state, so we recommend checking your local laws or reaching out to a local child support attorney. This change must also not be a voluntary change such as quitting your job simply to decrease your child support payments.

Can a Change in Income Make My Child Support Go Up?

How will my new job change child support?

If you believe that the parent of your child’s income has significantly increased, you can request a change to the child support agreement that would require them to pay more than they originally agreed to.  This could happen if they are given a big promotion at work or move to a new career.  Just like when income decreases, you will need to prove that this change is significant enough to impact the child support payments.  A 10%-15% increase is a common line for what is deemed a significant change, however not all state have a specific cutoff and the number will vary.  

Do You Need to go to Court to Change Child Support?

When you want to change your child support agreement, you must take the matter to court.  This change will not happen automatically, even after your income changes.  This process can be longer than anticipated, which can be especially problematic if you are job hunting or trying to get the most of your work hours.  We highly recommend finding a local attorney to help guide you through the process and assure you are given the best results available. If you are in the Chicagoland area, feel free to reach out to us at

For more on child support modification, check out our article: Illinois Child Support Modification Explained.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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