DWK represented the wife seeking a modification to the child support she receives from her former husband subject to a final Judgment entered in April 2015. The lower court dismissed Wife’s petition stating that the parties agreed to cap child support and thus the parties were bound by their contractual obligation – although it did appear in the four-corners of the documents that a substantial change in circumstances existed warranting a modification of husband’s child support payments. Marvin and David successfully argued to Justices Joseph Birkett, Robert McLaren and Michael Burke, that, inter alia:
- The parties did not have the right to negotiate away child support, and that irrespective of the parties’ agreement it was the Court’s obligation to ascertain whether the cap was in the children’s best;
- A cap on child support is against public policy, and that it prevents a modification from ever occurring;
- The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides for a deviation, but not a cap on child support;
- The parties’ agreement did not comport with the IMDMA and it did not specifically describe a basis for a deviation – general statements of deviation are inconsistent with the statute’s requirements;
The appellate court struck down the portion of the agreement capping husband’s child support and vacated same retroactive to the date the judgment was entered (2015), thereby vacating the lower court’s decision and sending the case back to the lower court for resolution.