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Challenges with child support enforcement across state lines

Even after parents divorce, they continue to bear financial responsibility for their children. Child support payments as outlined in Illinois state law are not a matter to be taken lightly; delinquent payments not only have a negative impact on the children, they can have serious consequences for the parent who fails to make them. Yet sometimes a custodial parent will find it necessary to take legal action to enforce these payments.

It was recently reported that one mother was supposed to receive weekly payments of $141 from her ex-husband when they divorced in 1992. However, he often sent only token payments of a few dollars a month. Various legal approaches were pursued: his drivers' license was revoked, he was put on probation, and recently he was told that he could face jail time.

The mother of two children lives in a different state from their father. Despite her efforts to force him to pay, today the man owes over $100,000. The boys, it should also be noted, are no longer children.

The story highlights a particularly difficult challenge for custodial parents seeking to collect delinquent child support. Punitive measures against the noncustodial parent (e.g., probation, jail, drivers' license suspension) often negatively impact that individual's ability to earn income. In turn, this makes it even less likely that the custodial parent will be able to collect what is owed.

A skilled legal professional's assistance can make the difference with child support enforcement issues. There are laws designed to protect the custodial parent and the children, including a federal law that applies to parents who live in different states. We'll take a closer look at this law in our follow-up post.

Source: ABC Action News, "Battle for child support drags out for 25 years, father owes more than $100k," Jackie Callaway, Oct. 10, 2017

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