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There are many complicated legal issues in any divorce that involves children. While parents may typically first think of child custody, there is also the issue of child support. Divorce is often expensive enough, but when one spouse learns that they will keep paying for the divorce through child support for years after, sometimes they take drastic steps to avoid the expense. Some may even quit their job. So, what can you do when a spouse stops working in an effort to avoid paying child support?
Under Illinois law, all parents are required to financially support their children while they are still minors. The only exception to this is that parents must also support a child 19 years of age if they are still in high school. Parents are obligated to provide this financial support regardless of whether they are married to the other parent or not.
When parents are divorced, this financial responsibility is typically met through child support. The non-custodial parent will make payments to the custodial parent to help with the daily expenses for the child, as well as their medical and educational costs.
The courts take a number of factors into consideration when determining how much child support the non-custodial parent must pay. One of these factors is the income of both parents. However, that does not mean that just because a parent has quit their job that the courts will excuse them from paying support. Instead, the court will likely base the child support amount on the non-custodial parent’s education or skill level to determine what type of employment they could secure.
Child support is a court order, which means it is legally binding and any parent ordered to pay support must do so. Unfortunately, many times parents do not. When this is the case, the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services provides many methods for obtaining child support from the non-custodial parent.
Any time a parent does not pay child support, the custodial parent can petition the court to enforce it. Some forms of enforcement include seizing funds in the parent’s bank account, placing liens on personal property, such as a vehicle, garnishing unemployment payments, veterans’ benefits, and other benefits paid through government funds. A non-custodial parent’s federal tax refunds may also be seized if they fail to pay child support.
For custodial parents that are responsible for making sure all of their child’s needs are met, it is devastating when the other parent quits their job to avoid paying child support. It also seems like a hopeless situation, but it is not. There are many ways the courts can enforce child support orders, and our dedicated Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help you file your petition to the court. If you are struggling to receive child support payments, or are facing any other issue in divorce, call us at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
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