Recently, a woman who had been divorced for six years came to see me and we took a look at her divorce decree. While she didn’t come in to talk about child support, I learned that her ex-husband receives big raises every year and was on the verge of a promotion. She was still receiving child support based on his earnings at the time of the divorce, earnings which were about $50,000.00 less than what he earns now. Questioning her a little further, it turns out that they have an amicable relationship and he doesn’t hide how well he is doing. I asked her why she has never bothered to ask for more child support, since he now makes significantly more money. Her eyes widened and she asked “Is that possible?” We have since filed a motion with the court to increase child support so that she will receive the appropriate percentage of his current net income. When the person who is paying child support has a substantial increase in income, the court can require the child support to increase. The reasoning behind it is that children, even if they don’t live with both mom and dad, should still benefit when one of their parents starts earning more money (better food, better housing, better shoes, etc)
Her divorce lawyer made a mistake that I see happen all too often. He didn’t “finish the job”. Once the divorce was made final, he didn’t bother to explain to her what she needed to keep in mind in the future. She has lost the right to collect more child support money for the past and can only get an increase starting from the time that she formally asks for it (by filing paperwork with the court). Had she known that child support does not have to stay based on circumstances at the time of the divorce, she could have had it increased long ago. The mistake ended up costing her tens of thousands of dollars in child support that she could have used to better provide for her daughter. It would have taken her lawyer about two minutes to explain it to her. Make sure that your divorce lawyer explains to you what you are signing and why your decree is written the way it is. Be sure that you know what your divorce decree means and ask lots of questions.
If you live in Illinois and are receiving child support and think that you may be entitled to an increase, or if you pay child support and are earning a lot less than you were when child support was set, do not delay in talking to a family law lawyer because timing is everything. Gather financial information and call O’Connor Cadiz Law to talk about your options. We are located in Schaumburg and Itasca.