The Chicago Family Law Blog

High School Graduation? Time to Modify Your Support Order

With high school graduations come the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The same goes for child support orders.

In most states, a child support order ends when a child graduates or turns 18.

But in Illinois, the rules are slightly different.

If a child turns 18 while in high school, Illinois law generally requires a parent to continue paying support until the child graduates from high school or turns 19. However, the obligation doesn't necessarily end the moment the child graduates from high school.

If the high school graduate has younger siblings, a termination of child support won't be possible, but a modification of the child support obligation might be an option. Do-it-yourself modifications aren't allowed. You'll have to go back to court. When a parent seeks a modification of child support, the court looks at all the factors that go into the child support calculation.

Child support orders for two or more children are usually set a single dollar amount to be paid for all the children combined. In that situation, you can't decide on your own to pay less for support once one child graduates or becomes an adult. You are required to keep paying until the order is changed by a judge, unless your support order says you can reduce your support.

In fact, a parent shouldn't assume that a child support obligation will be reduced just because the eldest kid is graduating from high school. To the contrary, if the parent's income has gone up, the parent's obligation for the remaining kids could be more than the previous obligation that included the child who graduated.

Before filing a child support modification action, you might want to talk to a Chicago family law attorney.

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