Illinois’ former U.S. Representative Joe Walsh saw his 2012 re-election campaign wither after news media revealed that his ex-wife was seeking more than $100,000 in unpaid child support. Ads for his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, mocked the conservative firebrand as “Deadbeat Joe.” He and his ex-wife settled their dispute, but the damage to his political career form this and other matters was done and he lost the election.
That was not the end of the child support battles, however. Walsh was in a Cook County courtroom recently as he and his ex-wife engaged in a new dispute over how much child support he should pay now that he is no longer taking home the paycheck of a member of congress. In particular, the ex-couple have been arguing over how much he owes for January of this year, when he worked only a short time as a U.S. representative. He said he now works in radio and consulting.
Under the terms of his child support order, Walsh must pay 20 percent of his net income to his ex-wife for the everyday expenses involved in child-rearing. He filed for a modification in his child support obligations in February, but the ex-wife argues that this was too late to affect his January obligation. Their youngest child graduates from high school later this month, at which time Walsh’s obligations may expire.
Illinois calculates child support obligations as a percentage of the paying parent’s income. When this income changes, either through loss of a job or other factors, the paying parent must file a request for modification. Critics complain that this system does not take into consideration the actual needs of the child or the custodial parent, and have sought an overhaul of the state’s child support laws, but as yet their proposed changes have not come to pass.
Illinois parents who are under child support orders may need help requesting a modification when they experience a change in their ability to pay. Missed payments can gather interest and quickly turn into an overwhelming debt. Likewise, Illinois parents who are custodians of their children may want to get help researching their options for collecting the payments their children need.
Source: Sun-Times, “Joe Walsh, ex-wife squabble over child support,” Jon Seidel, May 1, 2013