The mother filed a Petition for Modification of Child support. She believed that her father was making substantially more than he had made when they got divorced. The trial court stated that dad owed $150,000.00 in back child support. He was ordered to pay this amount within the next six months. Father filed an appeal.

The Appellate Court did not agree with the calculations that the trial court had made. The law for the modification of child support has requirements. (1) There must be proof of a substantial change in circumstances. Or, (2) There may not be a substantial change in circumstances.

If we have (2), then there must be an inconsistency of at least 20% between the amount of the existing order and the amount of child support calculated from the guidelines.

(2) only applies to cases in which a party is getting child support enforcement services. This is done under the Illinois Public Aid Code.

The appellate court stated that the trial court committed two legal errors. It should not have used the 20% formula in calculating the father’s child support obligation.

Neither of the parties was receiving child support enforcement services under the Illinois Public Aid Code. Second, the 20% formula is used when there is not a substantial change of circumstances.

Father had been making considerably more. So, there was already a substantial change of circumstances. There was no basis to apply the 20% formula. The trial court had applied it a number of times. It should not have been applied at all. The appellate court reduced the $150,000 figure arrived at by the trial court to $99,638.51.

In Re Marriage of Bennink, 2018 IL App (2d) 170175.

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