His Congressional campaign ended in defeat, but former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh has launched a new campaign -- this time in family court. Walsh filed a petition to terminate his child support obligations in February, although the Illinois native claims he only meant to modify his payments.
Walsh argued that he was doing what every non-custodial father does when circumstances change. When he was not reelected, his employment was terminated through no fault of his own, according to court documents. With his primary source of income gone, he asked to modify the agreement so that he would be paying 20 percent of his income until his child graduates from high school in the spring.
While news outlets have reported that Walsh is considering a number of new career options -- heading up a superPAC, hosting his own radio show -- he apparently has no income at the moment. The question of whether he meant "modify" or "terminate" in his filing, then, could be moot. If he has no income, 20 percent of nothing is tantamount to terminating payments.
According to his ex-wife's attorney, Walsh missed payments in January and February. The attorney added that any non-custodial parent must make payments until the court approves a modification of child support. "You still have to keep paying until the judge says you can stop," the attorney said. The petition was apparently the first Walsh's ex-wife had heard that he was even considering asking for a modification or termination of his support agreement.
Walsh's tenure in Congress was dogged by his child support woes. Early in his term, his ex-wife sued for missed payments, noting that he had made partial payments for some time; she decided to ask for full payment when she saw that he had contributed a substantial sum to his 2010 campaign.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Ex-Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh wants to stop paying child support because he's out of a job," Natasha Korecki, Feb. 11, 2013
Our Lake County, Illinois, firm helps both custodial and non-custodial parents with child support modifications like the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit the child custody page of our website.