When Does a Change in Financial Circumstances Justify a Post-Divorce Modification in Illinois?

A divorce decree that initially made sense may simply no longer work very well for you or your family. In Illinois, you may be eligible to obtain a post-decree modification based on a change in financial circumstances.

Minor and already-accounted-for changes in financial circumstances are not enough to justify a post-divorce modification. Instead, the change in circumstances must generally be “substantial” and “material.”

The exception is in cases where family services are already involved in helping enforce child support. In those cases, a somewhat different legal standard applies.

Any Ongoing Financial Obligation May Be Modified

Following a divorce, one of the parties may have ongoing financial obligations to the other. Most often, these ongoing financial obligations involve either child support payments or spousal support payments. Under Illinois law, both child support and spousal support (alimony) may be modified based on changing financial circumstances.

Substantial Financial Changes Can Come in Many Different Forms

Courts are simply not interested in re-litigating the same issues repeatedly. Under Illinois law, a court will only consider ordering a modification if the party who is seeking one can demonstrate there has been a substantial change in the underlying circumstances such that the original divorce decree is no longer equitable or consistent with state law. Depending on the nature of the case, the following types of changes may be deemed substantial:

  • The loss of a job;
  • A promotion;
  • Significant increase/decrease in monthly income;
  • Major health problems; and
  • A remarriage.

How large of a change qualifies as a substantial change? It is a question that must be answered on a case-by-case basis. Though, if you believe changing financial circumstances have made your initial divorce decree “inequitable,” you should speak to a lawyer about your case.

There are Special Rules if Child Services are Involved in Your Case

When the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is providing child support enforcement services, a different standard can be applied to seek a post-decree modification for child support. Specifically. If a change in financial circumstances has resulted in a 20 percent (or greater) gap between the current child support payments and the Illinois child support guidelines, that is enough to justify a modification.

Collaborative Solutions Often Work Best

Like other family law issues, collaborative solutions can be highly effective in cases of changing financial circumstances. If both parties can reach an agreement regarding a change in child support obligations or a change in spousal support obligations, it can be easier to get the modification approved by an Illinois judge. At Keller Legal Services, our post-divorce modification attorneys are committed to helping clients achieve the most effective and efficient outcomes. In many cases, this means negotiating for a reasonable and fair solution. With that in mind, we will also never let your legal rights or financial interests take a back seat. Our Illinois modification lawyers are always ready to fight aggressively to protect your clients.

Get Family Law Guidance from Our Illinois Post Divorce Modification Attorney Today

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois family law attorneys have extensive experience handling the complete range of post-decree modification cases. We pride ourselves on helping our clients find effective, low-conflict solutions.

To arrange a free, strictly confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm now. We have law offices in Naperville, Wheaton, and Aurora and we represent clients throughout the region, including in Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Joliet, Orland Park, and Bolingbrook.