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The truth behind child support obligations

Parenting can be challenging, particularly for Illinois single mothers who are relying upon child support to assist in caring for their children. Many people seem to think that some child support awards are too high, however.

Celebrities are particularly susceptible to these types of statements. Bristol Palin is a case in point. During the 2008 presidential campaign, an announcement was made that Bristol was pregnant. Eventually, the father started to complain publicly about the amount of money he had been ordered to pay in child support. The reality is that courts base their child support determinations on state guidelines if the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own. Most states take into account the income of both parents, while others look solely at the noncustodial parent's income and ascribe a percentage to it based upon the number of children and other factors.

An attempt is made by courts to ensure that children's lives are not unduly disrupted because of the divorce of their parents. This includes trying to ensure a child's standard of living remains as similar as possible to what it was before the parents ended their marriage.

A child support order should be taken seriously by noncustodial parents. A failure to make the required payments can result in severe penalties, including a driver's license suspension, a denial of a passport issuance or renewal, wage garnishment and an interception of income tax refunds. In some cases, jail time is a possibility. However, there are situations where a parent legitimately is unable to pay, such as an unexpected job loss. In such an event, the parent may want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking a modification of the order.

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