In the first quarter of 2022, inflation is up over 8%, the highest since the early 1980s. With this high inflation rate, you are likely paying more for everything for your child – from gas in your car, to diapers and music lessons. Maybe you’re wondering if your child support payments can go up to match your increased costs.
Unfortunately, in Illinois, courts will generally only reconsider a child support calculation when a parent is able to show a “substantial change in circumstances” to justify that change. Inflation alone won’t usually be sufficient.
What specifically changed for your family?
One of the reasons that courts won’t modify child support just based on inflation alone is that inflation affects costs for both parties. Higher prices for goods affects not just parents, but those paying child support too. That’s why, if you want to try to get additional child support to pay for increased expenses, it’s critical to be able to explain exactly which costs have gone up and by how much. For example, if rates at your child’s daycare rose by 10%, keep track of that. If your grocery costs are up 12%, keep track and save your receipts. This is the kind of documentation that is much more powerful for a Court to see, versus a general statement that your living expenses are higher because of inflation.
Has inflation impacted earnings?
In addition to rising costs, inflation often corresponds to changes in income. For example, many employers will increase salaries to retain their workers. This is particularly true in 2022 when the high inflation is occurring at the same time as a tight labor market. If you know that your ex has received a raise at work, at the same time that you are dealing with higher expenses because of inflation, that combination may help to show a court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that would justify recalculating child support.
Have more questions?
After reading this, if you believe that you might be entitled to a modification in child support, contact Rincker Law today! We can evaluate your situation to help determine whether your added costs and/or changes to an ex’s income are substantial changes that a court could use to modify child support.