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Illinois child support attorneysRaising a child takes financial resources, so when you are ordered to pay child support, is important that you fulfill your financial obligation. Unfortunately, life can get in the way. People get injured or laid off from their jobs. Health complications can make it difficult to maintain gainful employment. If any of these (or any other scenarios) apply to your situation, there may be options available to you. Learn more with help from the following information. 

Defaulting is Never an Option

Parents who fall behind on their child support payments sometimes avoid asking for help because they fear it will only increase their overall costs. Yet, if changes to their order for support are not made, the obligated parent may fall far enough behind on their payments to warrant disciplinary action from the state. Such consequences may include:

  • Jail time,
  • Cancellation of one’s driver’s license,
  • Cancellation of a professional license,
  • Wage garnishments,
  • Seizure of tax refunds,
  • Damage to one’s credit,
  • Property liens, and
  • Felony charges. 

All of these consequences can be avoided, so long as immediate action is taken when the parent can no longer meet their court-ordered obligation.

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Illinois child support lawyersChild support is designed to ensure a child’s immediate financial needs are met, such as food and clothing for school. It can also go toward a child’s future, giving a parent the power to start up a college fund for the child. Sadly, statistics indicate that only 44 percent of all custodial parents receive the full amount of support that they are owed. 

One California woman had been just one of many who had not received child support after her divorce. Given custody of their daughter, the woman had been left to raise and financially support the child after her ex-husband skipped town and moved to Canada. From there, the man completely disappeared. Fifty years later, the courts awarded the woman a settlement of $150,000. That amount included the overdue support payments of $35,000, as well as penalty fees and interest for four decades of unpaid support. her experience proves it is never too late to pursue the overdue support you are owed. 

Pursuing Overdue Child Support in Illinois

Parents often feel as though they are alone in their pursuit of overdue child support. However, there are resources and services available to them. One of the most invaluable is the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). They have the power and ability to track down a delinquent parent. They can also impose penalties on the parent to encourage payment. Examples may include suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver’s license or professional license, imprisonment, or putting a “freeze” on the delinquent parent’s passport. 

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Illinois child support attorneysIllinois law states that children have the right to emotional and financial support from both of its biological parents, and it protects those rights through different measures. Child support is one of the more commonly known and discussed, yet obligors are often confused about where their responsibility ends and begins. Moreover, they are not always informed of their rights, such as the right to request a modification if a significant change in circumstances occurs. 

When Can an Obligor Request a Modification to Child Support? 

When child support orders are established, the income of each biological parent is used in the calculations, as are the specific needs of the child (i.e. children with special needs, etc.). The time that each parent spends with the child may have been used as well, but such considerations have only recently become commonplace. If a substantial change has occurred in any of these areas - the income of the biological parents, the child’s needs, or the amount of time that each parent spends with the child - then either parent may request a modification to their order of support.

Since changes are meant to benefit the child, not the parents, some modifications could result in an increase in a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation. For example, if a child needs braces, the receiving parent may petition the courts to obtain additional support from the obligor. 

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Illinois child support lawyersUnder Illinois state law, children are entitled to financial support from both their biological parents, regardless of whether the parents were ever married. However, that support is not unlimited. Instead, the state has a specific formula that is used to determine what a paying parent’s support obligation should be. Learn more about the way that child support is calculated, and discover how to determine when the aid of an experienced attorney may be beneficial for parents who are engaged in an Illinois child support case.

Is Child Support Owed?

Before an order for child support can be entered, the courts must first determine if support is owed. This starts with establishing parenthood over the child. In a marriage, this is presumed for both the mother and the father. If the parents were never married, the mother is usually presumed to be one biological parent, but the father must either acknowledge paternity, or they must request a paternity test to verify that they are the child’s biological parent. From there, the courts will examine other factors, such as the income of both parents and the amount of time that each parent spends with the child, to determine the amount of support that may be owed.

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