Changing Child Support Payments

Changing Child Support Payments

Last updated: February 2014

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Either parent can change child support payments if there was a big change since the last child support order. Examples of changes include:An increase in the non-custodial parent's income from a raise or new job;A decrease in the non-custodial parent's income due to a loss of job or disability;An increase in the needs of the child;The child has a disability that requires more support;The child turned 18 and is no longer in high school; orThe child no longer lives with the custodial parent.If you are the parent with custody and would like to increase your child support payments, you must:File a Petition to Modify Child Support with the CourtShow that there has been a big change since the last child support order was enteredClick on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean. When can I change my child support payments? Either parent can change the child support payments if there was a substantial change in circumstances since the last child support order. Examples of a substantial change in circumstances include: An increase in the non-custodial parent's income from a raise or new job;A decrease in the non-custodial parent's income due to a loss of job or disability;An increase in the needs of the child;The child has a disability that requires more support;The child turned 18 and is no longer in high school; orThe child no longer lives with the custodial parent.Note: If more than one child is on a child support order and one of the children turns 18, then the non-custodial parent can file a motion for a substantial change in circumstances. How do I increase my child support payments? If you are the custodial parent and would like to increase your child support payments, you must:File a Petition to Modify Child Support with the Court; andShow that there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last child support order was entered.If you get child support enforcement services through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services then there are other rules for asking for an increase in child support without having to show a substantial change of circumstances. If you think this applies to you, you should talk to a lawyer. "Find Legal Help" will help you find an organization that might be able to help you.How do I decrease my child support payments? If you are the non-custodial parent and would like to lower your child support payments, you must:File a Petition to Modify Child Support with the Court; and Show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last child support order was entered.How are child support payments calculated? In Illinois child support is a certain amount based on the parent paying support's net income. The judge will use the table below as a guideline for determining the minimum amount for child support payments. The judge may also decide to order child support above or below these guidelines depending on the situation. Number of Children Percentage of Supporting Party's Net Income 1 20% 2 28% 3 32% 4 40% 5 45% 6 or more 50%You get net income you must add the total amount of income that the parent gets from all places. Then remove the following things from the total:Federal income tax State income taxSocial Security Mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employmentUnion duesDependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiumsPrior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court orderExpenses for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of incomeMedical expenses necessary to preserve life or healthReasonable expenses for the benefit of the child and the other parentCan child support payments be changed without going to court? No. A Petition to Modify Child Support must be filed with the Court. The amount of child support owed only changes when the judge enters a new court order that changes it. Until the judge enters a new order, the amount of child support owed will stay the same. If you want your child support to be increased or decreased, you must file a petition asking for child support to be changed. It will not happen automatically. What happens if child support is not being paid? Every time a child support payment is due and not paid in full, it gets added to the total debt owed. This debt is called an arrearage. Interest for late payments will be owed on this total debt.For more information on enforcing your child support payment, see "Related Articles."Can I just pay my child support payments directly to the other parent? No, unless the child support order says that you should pay the other parent directly. Normally, you must pay the Illinois State Disbursement Unit and they will pay the other parent. If the child support order tells you to pay the other parent, never pay in cash. Use a money order or check, so that you have a record of the payment. If you do pay the other parent directly, even though you are not supposed to, the other parent and the State of Illinois can say you still owe the child support you already paid. How is child support affected by veteran's benefits? See Stateside Legal's website for more information on child support and veteran's benefits.Decide if You Need a Lawyer You should speak with a lawyer if:The child’s living situation has changed, for example, the child is now living with you or someone other than the person who has legal custody;You owe back child support; orYou have more than one child support order.If you would like to speak with a lawyer, see “Find Legal Help."Determine Where Your Child Support Order Was Entered If you are planning on filing your petition in the city of Chicago, the court building where you need to file your paperwork depends on where the first support order was entered. Orders from divorce cases, paternity cases, and administrative orders will all go to different places. If your support order is part of a divorce or a paternity case, your support order will have a case number with the letter "D," (it looks like this - 05 D 123456):If your order was entered as part of a divorce case you will file your forms in Room 802 of the Daley Center at 50 W. Washington; orIf your support order is part of a paternity case, you will file your forms in Room 200 at 28 North Clark Street.If your support order doesn't have a case number with the letter "D" after the first two digits, it is probably an administrative order:If your support order was entered through an administrative order then you cannot use the rest of the forms and instructions in this guide to modify your child support payments; andTo modify an administrative order you will need to give a written request to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service Division of Child Support and tell them why your Order needs to be changed. Visit the Division of Child Support website for information on how you can contact them in person or through the mail.Get Your Court Costs Waived If you can’t afford the court fees, you might be able to file for free. Go to "Related Articles" to get more information on how to file your court papers for free.Prepare Your Forms You can find all the forms you need in "Forms/Letters." You can also get them from your Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You will need to prepare:Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of your Child Support Order attached)Notice of MotionCertificate of ServiceAffidavit as to military serviceDisclosure StatementNotice to Respondent of Service of Disclosure StatementAppearance (if you did not start the divorce or support case to begin with, and you did not file an appearance in this case – check with the clerk if you are not sure) File Your Documents For everything you file, you will need to bring the original form and at least 2 extra copies, depending on how many people you need to send Notice to (see the next step). You can make copies at the courthouse, but it will be expensive. If you can, print out the copies on your own or find someplace outside the courthouse to make copies.If you are filing at the Daley Center, you will need to fill out a motion slip. You can get one of these in room 802, where you file the rest of your paperwork.At the Daley Center, you will give the clerk: The motion slipThe Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of your Child Support Order)Notice of MotionThe clerk will give you a date, time, and place for your motion hearing. The clerk will stamp your copies of the paperwork and return them to you.If you are filing at the 28th North Clark Street address (room 200), you do not need a motion slip. You will need to file your Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of the Child Support Order) and Notice of Motion. The clerk will give you date for the hearing. Mail the Notice(s) of Motion You must notify the other parent by mailing a file-stamped copy of the Notice of Motion and Petition to Modify Child Support. Be sure to mail this on the date you wrote on the Notice of Motion. You don’t have to use certified mail, but it is a good idea. You can get a “Return Receipt” to prove the person was served with the Notice. A judge might ask for proof of service if the other parent does not show up for the hearing.If the parent is receiving cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, then you should also send a Notice of Motion to them. Fill out a separate Notice addressed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services along with a file-stamped copy of your Petition. You can call their toll free number to get their current mailing address: 1 (800)-447-4278.You must also notify the State's Attorney if they were involved in the case. You can ask the clerk to look at your case and let you know if you have to notify the State’s Attorney.If the parent will agree to the terms in your Petition you can have them waive being served by mail. To do this, have them sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form. You can get this from the office of the Court Clerk. The other parent must sign this form in front of a notary public and have the notary public sign the form. You will need to take the signed form to court with you.At Your Hearing Date At your hearing date, you should:Arrive at court at least 15 minutes early. Dress as you would for an important business meeting;Bring copies of all the forms you filed, the documents that you prepared for the hearing, and any other papers that relate to your petition;Go to the clerk in the courtroom where your case is being heard. Tell the clerk that you are there and that you are representing yourself. Sit down and wait for your case to be called;When your case is called, give the judge a copy of your Petition to Modify Child Support and a copy of the Notice of Motion and anything else the judge asks for. Let the judge know that your Petition is set for hearing;The judge will ask to see proof of the changed circumstances. The judge may ask you questions. For example, if you are reducing your support because you lost your job or are making less money, the judge will want to decide if this change was your fault;If the other party is present, They will have an opportunity to tell the judge their side of the story; andAt the end of the hearing the judge will make a ruling.After the Ruling After the judge issues a ruling, you need to fill out an Order denying or granting the Petition, depending on how the judge rules. Once you fill it out, give it to the clerk, who will stamp it. If the judge grants your petition, you will need to fill out the paragraphs exactly as the judge decided.Do not leave the courtroom without a stamped copy of the order.Decide if You Need a Lawyer You should speak with a lawyer if:The child’s living situation has changed, for example, the child is now living with you or someone other than the person who has legal custody;You owe back child support; orYou have more than one child support order.If you would like to speak with a lawyer, see “Find Legal Help.”Determine Where Your Child Support Order Was Entered You need to file your petition to modify your order in the same county as the original order. If you are filing in Cook County, you can use any of the district courthouses. However, you should try to file your petition in the same courthouse as the original order. The district courthouses are at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 If you are going to file in the District 1, the City of Chicago, change the zip code on this guide for more specific Chicago instructions. Use a Chicago zip code, such as 60602.Orders from divorce cases and paternity cases will go to a different place than administrative orders will all go to different places. If your support order is part of a divorce or a paternity case, your support order will have a case number with the letter "D," (it looks like this - 05 D 123456), and it will go to the domestic relations division within your courthouse.If your support order doesn't have a case number with the letter "D" after the first two digits, it is probably an administrative order:If your support order was entered through an administrative order then you cannot use the rest of the forms and instructions in this guide to modify your child support payments; andTo modify an administrative order you will need to give a written request to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service Division of Child Support and tell them why your Order needs to be changed. Visit the Division of Child Support website for information on how you can contact them in person or through the mail.Get Your Court Costs Waived If you can’t afford the court fees, you might be able to file for free. Go to "Related Articles" to get more information on how to file your court papers for free.Prepare Your Forms You can find all the forms you need in "Forms/Letters." You can also get them from your Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You will need to prepare:Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of your Child Support Order attached)Notice of MotionCertificate of ServiceAffidavit as to military serviceDisclosure StatementNotice to Respondent of Service of Disclosure StatementAppearance (if you did not start the divorce or support case to begin with, and you did not file an appearance in this case – check with the clerk if you are not sure) File Your Documents For everything you file, you will need to bring the original form and at least 2 extra copies, depending on how many people you need to send Notice to (see the next step). You can make copies at the courthouse, but it will be expensive. If you can, print out the copies on your own or find someplace outside the courthouse to make copies.Bring your forms to the clerk’s desk in the domestic relations division of your courthouse. You will need to:File your Petition to Modify Child Support with a copy of your original Child Support Order; andBring your Notice of Motion with the Certificate of Service.The clerk will give you a date, time, and place for your motion hearing. The clerk will stamp your copies of the paperwork and return them to you.Mail the Notice of Motion(s) You must notify the other parent by mailing a file-stamped copy of the Notice of Motion and Petition to Modify Child Support. Be sure to mail this on the date you wrote on the Notice of Motion. You don’t have to use certified mail, but it is a good idea. You can get a “Return Receipt” to prove the person was served with the Notice. A judge might ask for proof of service if the other parent does not show up for the hearing.If the parent is receiving cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, then you should also send a Notice of Motion to them. Fill out a separate Notice addressed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services along with a file-stamped copy of your Petition. You can call their toll free number to get their current mailing address: 1 (800)-447-4278.You must also notify the State's Attorney if they were involved in the case. You can ask the clerk to look at your case and let you know if you have to notify the State’s Attorney.If the parent will agree to the terms in your Petition you can have them waive being served by mail. To do this, have him or her sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form. You can get this from the office of the Court Clerk. The other parent must sign this form in front of a notary public and have the notary public sign the form. You will need to take the signed form to court with you.At Your Hearing Date At your hearing date, you should:Arrive at court at least 15 minutes early. Dress as you would for an important business meeting;Bring copies of all the forms you filed, the documents that you prepared for the hearing, and any other papers that relate to your petition;Go to the clerk in the courtroom where your case is being heard. Tell the clerk that you are there and that you are representing yourself. Sit down and wait for your case to be called;When your case is called, give the judge a copy of your Petition to Modify Child Support and a copy of the Notice of Motion and anything else the judge asks for. Let the judge know that your Petition is set for hearing;The judge will ask to see proof of the changed circumstances. The judge may ask you questions. For example, if you are reducing your support because you lost your job or are making less money, the judge will want to decide if this change was your fault;If the other party is present, they will have an opportunity to tell the judge their side of the story; andAt the end of the hearing the judge will make a ruling.After the Ruling After the judge issues a ruling, you need to fill out an Order denying or granting the Petition, depending on how the judge rules. Once you fill it out, give it to the clerk, who will stamp it. If the judge grants your petition, you will need to fill out the paragraphs exactly as the judge decided.Do not leave the courtroom without a stamped copy of the order.Decide if You Need a Lawyer You should speak with a lawyer if:The child’s living situation has changed, for example, the child is now living with you or someone other than the person who has legal custody;You owe back child support; orYou have more than one child support order.If you would like to speak with a lawyer, see “Find Legal Help.”Determine Where Your Child Support Order Was Entered You need to file your petition to modify your order in the same county as the original order. If you are filing in Cook County, you can use any of the district courthouses. However, you should try to file your petition in the same courthouse as the original order. The district courthouses are at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 If you are going to file in the District 1, the City of Chicago, change the zip code on this guide for more specific Chicago instructions. Use a Chicago zip code, such as 60602.Orders from divorce cases and paternity cases will go to a different place than administrative orders will all go to different places. If your support order is part of a divorce or a paternity case, your support order will have a case number with the letter "D," (it looks like this - 05 D 123456), and it will go to the domestic relations division within your courthouse.If your support order doesn't have a case number with the letter "D" after the first two digits, it is probably an administrative order:If your support order was entered through an administrative order then you cannot use the rest of the forms and instructions in this guide to modify your child support payments; andTo modify an administrative order you will need to give a written request to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service Division of Child Support and tell them why your Order needs to be changed. Visit the Division of Child Support website for information on how you can contact them in person or through the mail.Get Your Court Costs Waived If you can’t afford the court fees, you might be able to file for free. Go to "Related Articles" to get more information on how to file your court papers for free.Prepare Your Forms You can find all the forms you need in "Forms/Letters." You can also get them from your Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You will need to prepare:Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of your Child Support Order attached)Notice of MotionCertificate of ServiceAffidavit as to military serviceDisclosure StatementNotice to Respondent of Service of Disclosure StatementAppearance (if you did not start the divorce or support case to begin with, and you did not file an appearance in this case – check with the clerk if you are not sure) File Your Documents For everything you file, you will need to bring the original form and at least 2 extra copies, depending on how many people you need to send Notice to (see the next step). You can make copies at the courthouse, but it will be expensive. If you can, print out the copies on your own or find someplace outside the courthouse to make copies.Bring your forms to the clerk’s desk in the domestic relations division of your courthouse. You will need to:File your Petition to Modify Child Support with a copy of your original Child Support Order;andBring your Notice of Motion with the Certificate of Service. The clerk will give you a date, time, and place for your motion hearing. The clerk will stamp your copies of the paperwork and return them to you.Mail the Notice of Motion(s) You must notify the other parent by mailing a file-stamped copy of the Notice of Motion and Petition to Modify Child Support. Be sure to mail this on the date you wrote on the Notice of Motion. You don’t have to use certified mail, but it is a good idea. You can get a “Return Receipt” to prove the person was served with the Notice. A judge might ask for proof of service if the other parent does not show up for the hearing.If the parent is receiving cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, then you should also send a Notice of Motion to them. Fill out a separate Notice addressed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services along with a file-stamped copy of your Petition. You can call their toll free number to get their current mailing address: 1 (800)-447-4278.You must also notify the State's Attorney if they were involved in the case. You can ask the clerk to look at your case and let you know if you have to notify the State’s Attorney.If the parent will agree to the terms in your Petition you can have them waive being served by mail. To do this, have them sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form. You can get this from the office of the Court Clerk. The other parent must sign this form in front of a notary public and have the notary public sign the form. You will need to take the signed form to court with you.At Your Hearing Date At your hearing date, you should:Arrive at court at least 15 minutes early. Dress as you would for an important business meeting;Bring copies of all the forms you filed, the documents that you prepared for the hearing, and any other papers that relate to your petition;Go to the clerk in the courtroom where your case is being heard. Tell the clerk that you are there and that you are representing yourself. Sit down and wait for your case to be called;When your case is called, give the judge a copy of your Petition to Modify Child Support and a copy of the Notice of Motion and anything else the judge asks for. Let the judge know that your Petition is set for hearing;The judge will ask to see proof of the changed circumstances. The judge may ask you questions. For example, if you are reducing your support because you lost your job or are making less money, the judge will want to decide if this change was your fault;If the other party is present, they will have an opportunity to tell the judge their side of the story; andAt the end of the hearing the judge will make a ruling.After the Ruling After the judge issues a ruling, you need to fill out an Order denying or granting the Petition, depending on how the judge rules. Once you fill it out, give it to the clerk, who will stamp it. If the judge grants your petition, you will need to fill out the paragraphs exactly as the judge decided.Do not leave the courtroom without a stamped copy of the order.Decide if You Need a Lawyer You should speak with a lawyer if:The child’s living situation has changed, for example, the child is now living with you or someone other than the person who has legal custody;You owe back child support; orYou have more than one child support order.If you would like to speak with a lawyer, see “Find Legal Help.”Determine Where Your Child Support Order Was Entered You need to file your petition to modify your order in the same county as the original order. If you are filing in Cook County, you can use any of the district courthouses. However, you should try to file your petition in the same courthouse as the original order. The district courthouses are at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 If you are going to file in the District 1, the City of Chicago, change the zip code on this guide for more specific Chicago instructions. Use a Chicago zip code, such as 60602.Orders from divorce cases and paternity cases will go to a different place than administrative orders will all go to different places. If your support order is part of a divorce or a paternity case, your support order will have a case number with the letter "D," (it looks like this - 05 D 123456), and it will go to the domestic relations division within your courthouse.If your support order doesn't have a case number with the letter "D" after the first two digits, it is probably an administrative order:If your support order was entered through an administrative order then you cannot use the rest of the forms and instructions in this guide to modify your child support payments; andTo modify an administrative order you will need to give a written request to the Department of Healthcare and Family Service Division of Child Support and tell them why your Order needs to be changed. Visit the Division of Child Support website for information on how you can contact them in person or through the mail.Get Your Court Costs Waived If you can’t afford the court fees, you might be able to file for free. Go to "Related Articles" to get more information on how to file your court papers for free.Prepare Your Forms You can find all the forms you need in "Forms/Letters." You can also get them from your Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You will need to prepare:Petition to Modify Child Support (with a copy of your Child Support Order attached)Notice of MotionCertificate of ServiceAffidavit as to military serviceDisclosure StatementNotice to Respondent of Service of Disclosure StatementAppearance (if you did not start the divorce or support case to begin with, and you did not file an appearance in this case – check with the clerk if you are not sure) File Your Documents For everything you file, you will need to bring the original form and at least 2 extra copies, depending on how many people you need to send Notice to (see the next step). You can make copies at the courthouse, but it will be expensive. If you can, print out the copies on your own or find someplace outside the courthouse to make copies.Bring your forms to the clerk’s desk in the domestic relations division of your courthouse. You will need to:File your Petition to Modify Child Support with a copy of your original Child Support Order; andBring your Notice of Motion with the Certificate of Service.The clerk will give you a date, time, and place for your motion hearing. The clerk will stamp your copies of the paperwork and return them to you.Mail the Notice of Motion(s) You must notify the other parent by mailing a file-stamped copy of the Notice of Motion and Petition to Modify Child Support. Be sure to mail this on the date you wrote on the Notice of Motion. You don’t have to use certified mail, but it is a good idea. You can get a “Return Receipt” to prove the person was served with the Notice. A judge might ask for proof of service if the other parent does not show up for the hearing.If the parent is receiving cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, then you should also send a Notice of Motion to them. Fill out a separate Notice addressed to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services along with a file-stamped copy of your Petition. You can call their toll free number to get their current mailing address: 1 (800)-447-4278.You must also notify the State's Attorney if they were involved in the case. You can ask the clerk to look at your case and let you know if you have to notify the State’s Attorney.If the parent will agree to the terms in your Petition you can have them waive being served by mail. To do this, have him or her sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form. You can get this from the office of the Court Clerk. The other parent must sign this form in front of a notary public and have the notary public sign the form. You will need to take the signed form to court with you.At Your Hearing Date At your hearing date, you should:Arrive at court at least 15 minutes early. Dress as you would for an important business meeting;Bring copies of all the forms you filed, the documents that you prepared for the hearing, and any other papers that relate to your petition;Go to the clerk in the courtroom where your case is being heard. Tell the clerk that you are there and that you are representing yourself. Sit down and wait for your case to be called;When your case is called, give the judge a copy of your Petition to Modify Child Support and a copy of the Notice of Motion and anything else the judge asks for. Let the judge know that your Petition is set for hearing;The judge will ask to see proof of the changed circumstances. The judge may ask you questions. For example, if you are reducing your support because you lost your job or are making less money, the judge will want to decide if this change was your fault;If the other party is present, they will have an opportunity to tell the judge their side of the story; andAt the end of the hearing the judge will make a ruling.After the Ruling After the judge issues a ruling, you need to fill out an Order denying or granting the Petition, depending on how the judge rules. Once you fill it out, give it to the clerk, who will stamp it. If the judge grants your petition, you will need to fill out the paragraphs exactly as the judge decided.Do not leave the courtroom without a stamped copy of the order.Decide if You Need a Lawyer You should speak with a lawyer if:The child’s living situation has changed, for example, the child is now living with you or someone other than the person with legal custody;You owe back child support; orYou have more than one child support order.If you would like to speak with a lawyer, see “Find Legal Help.”Fill Out Your Forms You can find all the forms you need in "Forms/Letters." You can also get them from your Circuit Court Clerk’s office. The program will help you prepare a:Petition for Modification of Child SupportCertificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child SupportNotice of HearingChild Support Information SheetCertificate of Mailing Notice of HearingUniform Order of SupportOrder modifying Child SupportGet Your Court Costs Waived If you can’t afford the court fees, you might be able to file for free. For more information, see "Related Articles."File Your Documents You should file your Petition in the county where the original Child Support Order was entered. You will need to bring to the Circuit Clerk's office:The Petition for Modification of Child Support - original and 2 copies (attach a copy of your last Child Support Order to each Petition)Child Support Information SheetA copy of your Application to Sue as a Poor Person (a judge will review and approve if you qualify to have your filing fees waived)If you do not qualify to have your filing fees waived, you will have to pay a fee to file your Petition.The clerk will "file stamp" your documents with the date of filing. Make sure that all copies have a file stamp on them.Notify the Other Parent of the Request to Modify Child Support You will need to:Mail a file stamped copy of your Petition to the other party;File a Certificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child Support with the Clerk certifying the date you mailed it and the address where you mailed it; andMail a file stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing to the other party.The other party may waive the mail notice and agree to the terms of your Petition. If so, have the other party sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form. You can get this form from the Clerk’s Office in your courthouse. Please note that this person must have seen a copy of the Petition and a copy of the Order Modifying Child Support you plan to give to the judge. The other party's signature must be notarized. If they will not sign this form, you will need to mail it as described.If the person receiving child support is receiving cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) or if DHFS helped them get the original Order you are trying to modify, you must send DHFS a file stamped copy of the Petition as well. You must then file a Certificate of Mailing of Petition for Modification of Child Support to DHFS. Then you must mail a file stamped copy of this Certificate to the DHFS office.Call DHFS' toll free number to get their current mailing address: 1 (800)-447-4278. You can also check the court file or the original Child Support Order.Request and Get a Hearing Date Once you have mailed a copy of your Petition for Modification of Child Support, you will need to wait 30 days to see if the other party files a response. If the other party does not file a response after 30 days, you should request a hearing date. Note: If the other party has signed an Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form, you do not need to wait the 30 days before requesting your hearing.If the other party has filed a response and has a lawyer, or if a lawyer contacts you before or during the hearing, you should seek legal assistance immediately. It is not a good idea to go up against a person who has a lawyer on your own.Depending on the county where you filed your Petition, you will need to contact either the Circuit Clerk or the judge's secretary to request a hearing date. You can do this by phone or by mail. Be sure to ask for the default or pro se (without a lawyer) hearing date. Some counties require you to let the other party know of the hearing. If this is the case, you will need to complete and send the Notice of Hearing form to the other party. You will then need to file with the Clerk the Certificate of Mailing of Notice of Hearing to certify when you mailed it.Prepare for the Hearing You will need to prepare the Order Modifying Child Support and the Uniform Order of Support. The Order Modifying Child Support is the document which the judge signs that changes the support. The Uniform Order for Support is used in actually collecting the support.If you are the one receiving child support, you will also need to prepare the Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support. The Notice is a form which is sent to the employer of the other party so his or her wages can be garnished.Prepare your testimony using the Petition for Modification of Child Support as your guide. You will need to testify about all of the facts in your Petition (the numbered parts of the Petition). You will also need to testify as to what you want the court to do (the lettered parts of the Petition). If you ask the court to do something that was not in your Petition, you may have to either fix your Petition or you may not get it.Attend the Hearing There is no way to know exactly what will happen at your hearing. But here are some things you should do:Bring copies of all the documents you filed and any papers relating to your Petition;Arrive at least 30 minutes before your hearing; don’t be late. Check the docket (list of cases being heard that day) or ask the Clerk exactly what room you will be in. Tell the Clerk or the judge’s secretary that you are ready and wait for your case number and name to be called;When the judge enters the courtroom, stand until you are told to be seated. When your case is called, step up to the judge's bench. Always refer to the judge as "your honor;"Before you begin, the judge may ask you about your case. Be prepared to answer about if and when the other party was served; andTo testify, you will need to call yourself as a witness. At this time, the judge will put you under oath and you will present your testimony.When you testify, your testimony should include:Your name and address The other party’s name and childrenThe names and birth dates of the childrenWhere the children liveWhere the other party works and how much they make after taxes each monthWhat the current support amount is and why you think it should be changedHow much you want the support amount to beAfter you have testified, the other party (if they show up) will be allowed to ask you questions. You should answer all questions truthfully and directly. After the other side is finished asking you questions, you may want to clear up any matters brought up by the other party. So you can either continue to testify or you may tell the judge you are finished testifying.If you need other witnesses to testify about certain facts, you should call these witnesses at this time. Like yourself, they will have to be sworn in. Since you are representing yourself, you will have to ask your witnesses questions so that they give the judge the information you want them to. When you are done asking questions, the other party can ask questions of your witnesses.After you are finished with your side of the case, the other party will be given the opportunity to testify and to call witnesses. You too will be able to ask the other party and their witnesses questions about their testimony. After both sides are finished presenting their cases, the judge will ask both sides if they have any final comments. Then the judge will either make a decision or tell you when to expect a decision.If the judge grants your Petition, present your Order for Modification of Child Support and Uniform Order for Support to be signed. If the judge wants corrections made, don’t panic. You can ask for permission to submit a corrected version by mail.After the Ruling After the judge has signed the Order Modifying Child Support and Uniform Order of Support, you will need to file them with the Clerk. Then you must send a file stamped copy of the Orders to the other party. To certify (prove) that you have done this, you will need to file a Certificate of Mailing with the Clerk.As with all documents you file, be sure to keep file stamped copies of these documents for yourself. Remember to hold on to the Orders as they are your proof that the support has been modified. If you lose the Orders, however, don’t panic. As with any document you file, you can always get another copy from the Circuit Clerk. You may, however, have to pay for the copies.If you are the one receiving support, after you have mailed the Certificate of Mailing, complete and file the Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support. After you have filed the Notice to Withhold, mail a copy to the supporting parent’s employer so that the child support can be deducted from their wages. To certify (prove) that you have done this, you will need to file an Affidavit of Service of Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support with the Clerk. Be sure to keep file stamped copies of these documents for yourself.If Your Request Is Denied If your request was denied because you did not have enough evidence, then you will have to wait until circumstances change before you can file another Petition. This is because once the court makes a decision about an incident or an event, it cannot address that same incident or event again.If your request was denied because of some procedural error on your part, then you should correct the error and request another hearing.Finally, whenever you lose in court, you have the right to request the court to reconsider its decision. You also have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. Please note that in most cases you have 30 days or less from the date of the judge’s decision to exercise these rights. Otherwise, you may lose your right to reconsideration or appeal. You should get an attorney if you want to appeal.

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