Many parents in Waukegan, Illinois, and the surrounding parts of Lake County have child support obligations, but they are, at least in some respects, simply another bill. Perhaps, because they figure the support is going to help their children, they just pay the weekly amount as it comes due, even if they have experienced a job loss or some other big change that makes it hard for them to pay the support.
When two parents are living apart while trying to raise a child, it can be particularly frustrating since the other parent's biggest financial obligation is to pay child support each week. If a parent in Illinois flat out ignores the child support order, that parent can face serious penalties, including the possibility of jail time. However, sometimes parents who don't want to shoulder their share of the financial burden when it comes to paying child support try to skirt around the law instead. Oftentimes, they do this by masking or understating income, including by quitting higher paying jobs voluntarily or to take a job that does not make as much.
A previous post here reviewed the formula that Illinois courts use to determine how much child support a parent who does not have custody of his or her children is expected to pay. Part of that post mentioned that sometimes parents can dispute what numbers go in to those formulas and, specifically, how much income each parent makes.
Like other states, Illinois uses a set of guidelines to determine the correct amount of child support each parent should pay. The idea behind such guidelines is to make sure that the child gets the financial support that is needed from both parents in order for the child to maintain a similar standard of living as the child would have had if both parents had been living in the same home. The guidelines also ensure that parents are treated consistently no matter which judge they are in front of.
Divorce can be difficult. Even when spouses are onboard with the process, if children are involved this can further complicate dissolution. While it is possible that children understand what is going on and that it is for the best, the fact of the matter is that divorce will alter their life as they know it. The transition from a one-home family to a two-home family can be a big deal. And, while parents seek to meet the emotional needs of their child by developing a suitable child custody arrangement, parents must also consider the child's financial wellbeing as well.
When you are going through divorce court and there are children involved, most of the decisions will be made to assure that the best interests of the children are met. For child custody, they will determine who is the primary caretaker, whether there is a history of alcohol or substance abuse or even domestic violence. They may even ask the children how they feel about their relationship with each of their parents.
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.
Children in Illinois depend on the support of both of their parents, both emotionally and financially. Of course, it costs money to raise a child in a healthy and supportive environment. For the benefit of the child, when the child's parents are no longer in a relationship with each other, either due to divorce or a break-up, the noncustodial parent will usually be ordered to pay child support.
In today's digital age, gone are the days when a noncustodial parent must mail a check for child support. While that is still an option, these days noncustodial parents in Illinois can pay their child support obligations over the phone, with a credit card online or have payments automatically deducted from their bank account.
Child support has always had the potential for conflict. Settling on an amount that was deemed fair by both of the child's parents was often difficult, especially considering that each parent's case is unique, and doesn't necessarily fit well into a formula or algorithm. Sometimes it would even result in one parent's refusal to pay the other parent what is owed. However, child support laws in Illinois are on the brink of significant changes.