In general, divorce can be complex. When the separation involves a family with minor children, even more is involved than just property division. In most cases, one parent resides with the child while the other parent is expected to pay child support. Child support is a financial contribution to the everyday and extracurricular costs of raising a child. In most states, the noncustodial parent will be expected to pay support until the child is no longer considered a minor. Certain circumstances, however, may warrant a longer period of support, such as if a child has a serious physical or cognitive impairment.
Those who willfully fail to provide support for their spouse or child may be guilty of failure to support. The law defines failure to support as leaving the state to evade a support order. An individual may also be guilty of failure to support if support payments have not been made in the last six months and the amount of past due support is $5,000 or more.
Illinois courts are mandated to follow statutorily set guidelines in child support cases. They are permitted to deviate from the guidelines only if the deviation is demonstrably in the best interest of the child.
Custodial parents who receives help through programs such as AABD Cash, AABD Medical, TANF, Family Assist, Parent/KidCare Assist or KidCare Moms and Babies are required to cooperate with child support enforcement activities. Cooperation means that the custodial parent provides information that can help establish paternity of children receiving assistance. A parent must be willing to testify in court, assist in finding the non-custodial parent or appear to give written or verbal information.
Illinois has a bad reputation when it comes to collecting child support. The system has some very convenient aspects, but it also lets noncustodial parents get away without paying and without penalties for not paying. As a result, cases can languish with the state for years before any progress is made or before the children simply grow up and become ineligible for child support.