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Bill would suspend child support payments if payer is in jail

One issue that can complicate child support matters in Illinois is if the paying parent is incarcerated. After all, if the paying parent is in jail, they will not be able to work to afford to pay child support. Moreover, once released from prison, they are left with a large child support bill that strips them bare financially. Some may even turn to committing further crimes in order to pay child support, which then may land them back in jail. It's a vicious loop.

However, one Illinois Representative has introduced legislation that addresses this issue. Under Representative Lashawn Ford's bill, if a paying parent is incarcerated, their child support obligations will be suspended. In addition, the applicable interest rate on the child support owed would be frozen. This bill has the support of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Some people oppose this, arguing that receiving parents rely on the child support payments to take care of the child's daily needs. However, the purpose of the bill is to incentivize people to become functional members of society, who do not have to turn to crime to make ends meet.

It is important for paying parents to fulfill their child support obligations. However, if a parent is in jail, he or she may not be able to afford to make the necessary payments. Some legislators believe that, in situations like this, a parent's obligation to pay child support should be suspended, so that the parent has a better chance of being a productive, law-abiding member of society upon release from prison. Those who have questions about this bill and how it might affect them may want to speak to a family law attorney for further information.

Source:, "Child support payments on hold," Emilee Fannon, May 25, 2017

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