An amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will result in major alterations to the way child support is calculated. The law, which will go into effect July 1 and which is already being taken into account by some courts, will have a particular impact on non-custodial parents since it brings a new way of calculating how much each parent will be required to pay for their children's expenses.
There are cases in which children can become emancipated, absolving the noncustodial parent of any obligation to provide support. Parents who receive or pay child support should be aware of how the emancipation of their children before they reach the age of majority, which in Illinois is 18, can affect those payments.
When a non-custodial Illinois parent becomes disabled and unable to work, it can create financial burdens on the custodial parent as well. If parents paying child support becomes disabled, it does not relieve them of their obligation. With less income coming in, this parent may be forced to pay a lower amount of child support and this could impact the custodial parent's financial situation.
Illinois parents who are not receiving child support because the other parent has left the state in order to avoid paying may be unaware there is a federal law that could help them collect what they are owed. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a 1998 law that is specifically designed to punish parents who have traveled out of the state to avoid paying child support.
Noncustodial fathers in Illinois and around the country who fail to pay to child support regularly tend to spend less time with their children, have a higher likelihood of having offspring with multiple partners and may work fewer weeks per year. This is according to a study that evaluated the link between paternal participation and child support debt.
Illinois child support orders issued during divorce proceedings provide the custodial parent with monthly payments to cover a minor's everyday expenses. However, there are times when the non-custodial parent does not keep up with the terms of the order. In some cases, this is because the parent has been incarcerated.
Almost four decades ago, the federal Child Support Enforcement Program was created. The intention of the program was to ensure that a child received financial support from both parents. However, while the program is more successful than in the past in terms of getting a greater amount of assistance for more people in the program, a study has found that fewer people have legal child support agreements. Only 49 percent of eligible custodial parents had one in 2014. In 2004, 60 percent of eligible parents had one. Some Illinois parents may be among those who do not have agreements.
There are limits in Illinois and around the country on what can be paid for with child support payments. Child support is intended as a means of aiding the receiving parent by providing financial assistance for the costs associated with raising children. However, each state's laws dictate exactly what types of expenses are covered by child support.
Non-custodial Illinois parents who are subject to a child support order and who then become incarcerated are permitted to ask for a modification if their income is reduced after they are sent to prison, but in 14 states, this is not permitted. Prison reform advocates argue that this results in parents being released from prison to face child support payments plus interest that they are unable to pay. As a result, they may be incarcerated again.
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.