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Illinois council promotes positive father role with children

The Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood is a state commission that encourages the involvement of fathers in their children's lives. The state commission recognizes that the state carries the burden of fathers who have the ability to pay child support but fail to do so. Taxpayers cover millions of dollars in Medicaid, legal actions, cash assistance and other expenses.

The state has an interest in encouraging fathers to pay their child support obligations, and the fathers also have an interest in making their payments. Failure to pay child support can result in a variety of penalties. Someone who is not paying their child support obligations could have their wages garnished, tax refunds withheld or have their driver's license revoked. Courts may also impose jail time on someone who has failed to pay.

Fathers should be motivated to pay their child support obligations not only to avoid penalties, but also to support their children. Child support is intended to provide for the basic necessities of the child. This includes food, clothing, and a safe place to live. Child support is also intended to cover medical care and child care costs.

Educational costs are also covered by child support. This includes tuition fees, school uniforms, books, school supplies and tutors. Child support may also be used to cover extracurricular activities that fall outside of normal school hours. Children also have transportation costs that child support may help to cover. This may include car maintenance, car payments or the cost of car insurance.

Courts also hold that children should have access to entertainment such as computers and television. Child support may be used to pay for these items. It may also be used for activities such as movies or amusement park trips. Calculation of appropriate child support is determined by Illinois law. People involved in a divorce or other child-support situation should make every effort to ensure that their legal rights are protected.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "More support for responsible fatherhood," LaShawn K. Ford, June 17, 2013

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