Child Support FAQs
Experienced Attorneys Serving Oak Brook, Hinsdale, and Bolingbrook
- Should I keep records of my child support payments?
- What if there is a dispute about the amount of child support due?
- Can I pay my child support another way?
- What if a child support collection case if filed against me?
- Can child support payments be waived?
- What should I do if I am self employed?
- How are business expenses applied to child support?
- Are bonuses and commission factored into child support?
- What if I have a child support payment that is overdue?
- Do I owe child support if I am unemployed?
- What if I cannot pay the full amount of my child support obligation?
- Is there a child support system?
- What is child support enforcement?
Should I keep records of my child support payments?
If you are a Father paying child support you must keep very accurate records along with receipts and canceled checks. Do not pay a child support payment in cash directly to the Mother without obtaining a receipt that she has signed.
What if there is a dispute about the amount of child support due?
If there is a dispute about a child support amount due, it is the Father's burden of proof to prove each and every payment that he has made. For example if the Father says that he paid the Mother in cash and has no receipts, the Court almost universally will not allow a credit for the monies paid, and the Father will have to make the same payments again.
Can I pay my child support another way?
Do not try to offset child support by paying the Mother in the form of buying clothing or other items for your child. If there is a Child Support Order the Court will not give you credit unless the payments were made in money.
What if a child support collection case is filed against me?
If a child support collection case is filed against you by the Mother or by the State of Illinois, you will be required to furnish proof of your payments in the form of canceled checks, or receipts signed by the Mother.
If you have none of these as proof and the Mother denies payments, you will not be given credit for the payments that you actually made. It is also very difficult to obtain copies of canceled checks from your bank more than two or three years after the checks were issued. Banks are not required to maintain the records much longer than that period and frequently a bank that has been bought out by another bank does not have the old bank's records available.
Can child support payments be waived?
If you are a Father under a Court Order and required to make child support payments to the Mother, the Mother's promise to waive the payment or not to collect payments will not be honored by the Court. The Court sits as a parent for your children and is required to protect them despite any agreements that you may make with the Mother.
For example, an agreement made between you and the Mother that you will not have visitation with your children in exchange for her promise not to collect child support from you is completely unenforceable in Illinois.
In other words, you and the Mother could agree in writing that you would not pay child support and forgo your right to see the children. At any time, even up to age eighteen, the Mother of your children can still demand full payment of all amounts that were due for child support and the Court will not honor her written agreement not to collect from you.
What should I do if I am self employed?
If you are a self employed Father, keep complete and detailed records of your earnings and your expenses. If child support is going to be set by the Court, either initially at the time of the first Court date or sometime later, if the Mother seeks an increase from you in child support, the Court will require you to prove what your actual income is and what your business expenses are.
How are business expenses applied to child support?
Business expenses are deductible from your gross income in determining child support. Following updates to Illinois law which took effect in July 2017, both parents' net incomes are considered when determining the amount of child support. Net income in general means gross income from all sources less properly computed Federal income tax, FICA, Medicare, and State of Illinois income tax. Certain additional deductions are made for things like union dues and medical insurance payments. If you over or under withhold from your paychecks, the Court will use only the proper number of exemptions in collecting child support.
Are bonuses and commission factored into child support?
All money that you as the Father earn is fair game for child support. In other words, child support is not based simply upon regular time wages earned but includes bonuses, commissions, investment earnings, dividends, interest, and even some items that you would not assume would be income for child support purposes. An example would be periodic gifts given to you and could be included in your income for child support purposes.
What if I have a child support payment that is overdue?
If you are a Father who is overdue in your child support payments, the State of Illinois or the Mother may seek to collect these payments from you. Such overdue payments are called “child support arrearage” or “child support out of compliance arrears”. If you are paying pursuant to a Court Order you may be faced with a “child support arrearage”.
Do I owe child support if I am unemployed?
If you lose your job or become temporarily unemployed for some extended period, your child support obligation does not automatically stop. You must file a Petition with the Court in order to obtain a reduction or suspension in your child support payments. If you do not do so, you will owe the full amount of money due, despite the fact that you are unemployed or your income has been reduced.
Do not be caught in the trap of believing that because you are not paying and no one has sought to enforce child support against you that somehow you will not be obligated to make up those payments in the future. Your payments remain due and owing. You must Petition the Court for a reduction in child support.
What if I cannot pay the full amount of my child support obligation?
Interest on child support, at 9% at the present time, is mandatory in Illinois beginning 30 days after each payment is due. It is mandatory because the Court has no choice in granting or not granting these interest charges. Over an extended period, the interest charges may become enormous. That is why paying child support in a timely manner is so important, and seeking a reduction in child support if you are unemployed or your income is reduced is essential. In addition to interest, the Mother of your children can seek attorney's fees from you if she has employed an attorney if there is a finding by the Court that you willfully failed to pay child support as ordered.
Is there a Child Support System?
Husbands and Fathers are under the mistaken belief that there is a “system” that will take care of them with respect to their child support obligations. Fathers frequently think that a proper determination of their child support obligation as well as determining whether that obligation goes up or goes down will be taken care of automatically by “the system”. There is no system. Let me repeat that: THERE IS NO SYSTEM that takes care of you. The only person responsible to enforce your rights is you.
Frequently, the agencies responsible for the collection of child support make errors when it comes to the calculation of amounts that are due or the payments that have been received. It is therefore important that you keep exacting records of the payments that you have made and make each payment by check so that you have proof that the payment was made and received even if the payment was made to the State of Illinois.
Also, keep copies of all documents and notices received from the Court system or the State Collection Unit. Likewise, if you call, follow up in writing and keep a copy. Get the name and telephone number of the person who spoke to you. Remember that if a governmental agency gives you advise, they are not bound by any mistakes or erroneous advice that they may give you.
What is Child Support Enforcement?
Child support enforcement has become increasingly more serious to Fathers in Illinois. The Mother can seek enforcement through the State of Illinois or privately by herself or through an attorney.
In order to collect child support, Courts in Illinois have the authority to do many things which years ago would have been beyond anyone's imagination. The Court can revoke your driver's license, take away your passport, intercept your Federal and State of Illinois income tax refunds, deny you a license if you are in a profession, and many other remedies which are to numerous to list here.
There are also interstate registries of information available to Mothers who are seeking enforcement of child support which allow you to be tracked down and located even if you are out of state.