Modifications and when showing circumstance change is not needed

With support obligations in Illinois, a common question that people ask is when there can be a post-divorce modification. This can apply to alimony, child support and other payments that one spouse is required to make to the other as part of the divorce order. When one spouse requests modification, that spouse may have to show a substantial change in circumstances, thus making the change necessary. In other instances, however, the spouse need not show a substantial change in circumstances.

Illinois family law courts can modify certain divorce orders if the moving party can show an inconsistency of at least 20 percent, but not less than $10 per month, between how much the party pays under the current order, and the amount that would apply under the state guidelines. This type of modification does not require the ex-spouse to show a substantial change in circumstances.

There can also be a post-divorce modification without having to show a substantial change in circumstances if there is a need to provide health care for the child via health insurance or using another method. Receiving medical assistance will not be factored in when determining whether or not the child's health care needs are being adequately met. By contrast, a spousal maintenance order can only be altered when there has been a substantial change in circumstances and it is proven.

People who are receiving or paying any form of support need to know when the order can be changed and what the rules are for doing so. There are frequently viable reasons to make a change to the order and it might not be necessary to show a substantial change in circumstances for it to happen. With any attempt to alter an existing agreement in Illinois, the foundation can be clarified by speaking to an attorney who is experienced in helping clients with modifications.

Source:, "Sec. 510. Modification and termination of provisions for maintenance, support, educational expenses, and property disposition. -- (2)," accessed on Feb. 2, 2016