For the many Illinois residents who are in arrears on child support, a small glimmer of hope can be seen just across state lines. The hope comes in the form of big cuts in the interest rates that delinquent child support payers face in the nearby state of Wisconsin. Divorced parents in that state who want to do the right thing by their children are breathing a sigh of relief over this news.
According to a coordinator with the Racine YMCA's Focus on Fathers, many Wisconsin dads are thousands of dollars in arrears for child support and fear they may never get caught up on their payments. The coordinator went on to say some of the dads he works with feel as if the deck is stacked against them and he hopes the interest rate cuts will show these fathers that someone on the state level is working for them.
Starting on April 1, the state of Wisconsin will slash the interest for people in arrears from 12 percent down to 6 percent annually. The interest cuts will also apply to overdue child support payments as well. According to a document focusing on child support arrears complied by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, parents of Wisconsin owe more than $5 billion in overdue child support payments for the 2011-12 fiscal year. More than 41 percent of that figure represents the interest on the total amount.
Most divorced parents want to help pay for the needs of their children, but this can become a major problem when the parent is dealing with a financial emergency such as sudden unemployment. Instead of further penalizing parents who want to contribute, it might make sense to seek out a more equitable solution that won't cripple a father or a mother. While it's unclear if this trend will continue and spread into Illinois law, a qualified family law attorney might be able to assist those in arrears in the meantime.
Source: The Journal Times, "A break on child support: Interest rates on late payments to be cut in half starting April 1" Stephanie Jones, Mar. 17, 2014