Modifying an Out-of-State Child Support Order in Illinois

By Michael M. Shemkus

Modifying a child support order issued by a state other than Illinois requires strict adherence with Illinois' Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (750 ILCS 22) and may be far more restrictive and inconvenient than one might expect.

For example, suppose both parents and the child originally reside in Minnesota and a Minnesota state court issues a child support order requiring the Father to pay an amount to the Mother as and for the support of their child.  Now, suppose, the Mother moves with the child to Illinois and establishes their residency there.  Later, the Mother learns that the Father is earning substantially more now than he was when the original child support order was issued; consequently, she intends to petition for a modification of child support.  What must she do?

Of course, the legally simplest route would be for the Mother to return to Minnesota and file a petition to modify child support.  But what if she can't afford the time or expense of travel and prefers to stay in Illinois?

First, the Mother would need to register her Minnesota child support order in Illinois, Pursuant to the procedure outlined in 750 ILCS 22/602.

Second, the Mother would need to file her petition to modify child support in an Illinois court provided she believes she can meet the jurisdictional requirements of 750 ILCS 22/611.  There are two ways that she can meet those requirements - but both depend on the Father's consent towards transferring jurisdiction to Illinois.  If the Father remains in Minnesota, the Mother will need to obtain his written consent to the transfer of jurisdiction to Illinois and must record that consent in the Minnesota court that issued the original child support order.  (750 ILCS 22/611(a)(2)).  If the Father moves to any state other than Minnesota, the Father (not the Mother) must be the one who files the petition for a modification. (750 ILCS 22/611(a)(1)(B)). 

Since Section 611 only provides two methods for transferring jurisdiction to Illinois, and since both of those methods require the Father consenting to the transfer, what can the Mother do if the Father refuses to agree to the transfer? Unfortunately, the Mother must return to Minnesota and either ask the court to order the Father to file his written consent to the transfer as contemplated by 750 ILCS 22/611(a)(2) or she must litigate her case in Minnesota.

If the Mother is unable to satisfy the applicable jurisdictional requirements, an Illinois court would be without jurisdiction to modify the Minnesota child support order and she would be directed to litigate her petition in Minnesota.

Cross-jurisdictional support issues can be challenging and a person facing these issues would be well-advised to seek counsel from an experienced family law attorney.  Contact our office today for an in-person, one-on-one consultation.