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Child support modification request can help avoid penalties

Child support modification request can help avoid penalties

Illinois courts often require that parents who don’t live with their children make child support payments to help the parent who does live with the children pay for their housing, food and other every day expenses. The courts come up with the appropriate dollar amount for these payments, based upon set guidelines about the best interest of the child and the parent’s ability to pay.

When the paying parent’s ability to pay changes, they must request a child support modification. If they don’t, and they fall behind on payments, there can be serious consequences.

Take, for instance, a Chicago-area man who was arrested recently for what police said is more than $70,000 in delinquent child support payments. Police said that they tracked down the man at his place of employment, and that he tried to crawl away from them and hide in a basement. He now faces charges for obstruction of justice as well as for the delinquent payments.

The authorities have numerous tools at their disposal to enforce child support payment obligations. They can garnish wages, withhold tax returns, seize property, suspend professional or occupational licenses, revoke a driver’s license, even deny issuance of a passport. In extreme cases, a delinquent parent may face jail time.

Much of this can be avoided if the paying parent requests a child support modification as soon as a change in financial circumstances makes it necessary. When possible, the parents should agree between themselves to a modification. Often, however, the estranged parents cannot come to an agreement. In these cases, the paying parent must begin documenting the change in circumstances – such as a job loss – and apply with the court for a modification.

Source: Huffington Post, “Steven Jones Child Support: Maywood Deadbeat Dad Tried To Crawl Away, Hide From Cops,” March 31, 2013

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