Parents Have Options When They Can’t Make Child Support Payments

It not only takes two to tango but it also takes two to create a child. Therefore, it should not come as a shock to parents that they are responsible to cover some of the expenses associated with raising their child. Yet, in 2009 the Office of Child Support Enforcement reported that Americans owed around $108 billion for unpaid child support payments. Even more astonishing is that parents’ failure to pay child support cost American taxpayers about $53 billion in 2009. Illinois law does allow a parent to modify the amount of child support payments due to certain changes in their circumstances. However, most of the time parents do not take the proper steps and just refuse to pay child support because they do not want to.

Modifying Child Support Obligations

According to Illinois Statute, a non-custodial parent (the parent without legal custody) must pay a minimum of 20 percent of their net income in child support payments for one child. The percentage increases as the number of children increases. The statute gives judges room to adjust this formula after weighing certain circumstances, such as the child’s standard of living if the parents had stayed together or the child’s financial resources.

In addition, the amount of child support payments can be modified as long as the parent files a petition with the court. The parent is required to show a substantial change in circumstances that make it difficult to provide for the child’s needs. In some situations such as serious illness, the court may even temporarily abate child support payments as long as the parent files the proper petition. Typically the court is inclined to lower child support payments when a parent can show that he or she has experienced a decrease in income or that the parent has an illness and the majority of his or her income must now be allocated towards health expenses.

Failure to Pay Child Support

Although a parent who cannot afford child support payments has some remedies through the law, deadbeat parents refuse to take advantage of them and choose not to pay anything instead. A failure to pay required child support payments may result in being held in contempt by the courts and the imposition of additional fines and interest on the amount that is in arrears. Once in contempt, the non-paying parent may be subject to jail time and probation depending on the unpaid amount and circumstances underlying the contempt charge.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Child Support Lawyer

If you are trying to recover missed child support payments from a co-parent, contact one of the Wheaton child support lawyers at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today. We will evaluate the facts surrounding your case and help you track down the money your child deserves.