Your ex’ income has increased a lot since you were divorced. You still pay a substantial amount of child support. Are there any options to reduce the payment?


Your divorce was done several years ago. Your ex was able to get a Master’s degree afterward, and you were very happy for her. Subsequently she was able to get a very high paying job in a local tech company. She now earns three times the income she earned part-time when you were married. Since the divorce, you’ve paid increasing amounts of child support since you have received performance bonuses each year on top of your salary. Can you reduce child support in Illinois?

Generally, the answer is no. This is true even with the new Illinois dual-income child support system. Illinois child support law changed in 2017 from a one-income system (20% of net income for one child, 28% for two and so on) to a dual-income model. The new model uses a calculated cost to raise a child in Illinois adjusted by the incomes of the parents.

First, a case decided by the Appellate court in Illinois (Marriage of Salvatore, 2019 Ill. App. 2nd 180425) held that a change in income contemplated at the time of the divorce would not be sufficient basis to modify child support. The court had a very loose definition of “contemplated.” Secondly, the change in the law alone in 2017 is not a basis to modify child support either (see 750 ILCS 510(a)). The amended law states that the passage of the amendments to the child support law do not provide basis alone to modify child support. However, the facts of each case vary. The language of your divorce decree or paternity judgment may change the outcome in this situation. It is always best to contact us to have a consultation to discuss your unique circumstances.