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Child support and divorce

Child support is considered a fundamental duty of every parent to his or her children. This is why you can be required to pay child support even if you have never been married, as the obligation stems from being a parent, not from being married. And this is why it is virtually impossible to avoid a child support obligation. If you owe back child support payments you cannot discharge them in a bankruptcy, and your paycheck, bank accounts, tax refunds and lottery winnings can be garnished. 

In Illinois, the legislature has created a set of guidelines that use the income of the supporting parents and the number of children in the family as part of the calculation to determine the amount of a child support payment. In Illinois, other factors can permit a court to deviate from the guideline amount.  

Now, you may have the impression that because this is dispassionate mechanical calculation, that child support obligations are noncontroversial. Of course, if you thought that, you would be wrong. There is often a great deal of controversy and litigation over of child support amounts.

Many suggest that the system is broken and needs to be fixed or reformed. And there certainly examples of cases where problems have occurred. The greater difficulty is determining what would need to be done to improve the system. One can say it should be made fairer, but that has different meaning to mothers and fathers.

It is important that you understand your divorce settlement and the child support obligations, whether you are paying or receiving, and your attorney can help you understand your obligations and how to modify them if you experience a substantial change in circumstance.

Source: Townhall.com, "We Should Reform Child Support," Phyllis Schlafly, June 18, 2013

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