This is a continuation of our discussion about the problems of collecting child support payments in Illinois. The state has a terrible reputation -- "one of the worst," according to one attorney -- but there are pockets of progress. Lake County is among them.
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.
Divorced parents in Illinois often have questions about child custody and child support orders. Getting divorced with children can make everything seem very complicated, especially when parents cannot agree during the divorce process.
We are moving from one MJ to another, one with closer ties to Chicago: Michael Jordan. The greatest basketball player in history is once again the target of a paternity suit.
Normally we do not report on celebrity divorce or custody stories, but they do provide some "teachable" moments. As unlikely as it can be that Charlie Sheen would provide one of these moments, his latest agreement with ex-wife Brooke Muller is an example of how child support modifications can work.
We often talk about the difficulties of paying and collecting child support. In our last post, for instance, we discussed a new law in Illinois that the governor believes will help to reduce the state's $3 billion child support backlog. One man, however, finds himself in the unusual position of having been diligent with support payments only to discover, years later, that the child is not his.
Both the IRS and the state of Illinois consider gambling winnings to be income. You have to report it on your tax returns, and you have to pay taxes on it. Lottery winnings, slot machine jackpots and your take from hitting the trifecta -- it is all income. And because it is all income, it is also subject to garnishment for child support debt.
When we say there are serious consequences for not making child support payments, we are not kidding. The primary risk, of course, is to the child's well-being: Remember that one or two missed payments can put a single parent below the poverty line; in Illinois, two-thirds of children in poor families live with just one parent.
Child support orders are determined based upon a parent's ability to pay, a child's needs and several other factors. There are some instances when a spouse obligated to pay under the agreement either is unable to pay and fails to seek a modification or chooses not to pay at all.
In the afterglow of Father's Day, let's take a look at some recent local developments on the paternal parent front. First, Chicago's own 17-year-old rap star Chief Keef faces a second paternity suit and additional charges of avoiding child support payments. Second, local police hit the streets dressed like commandos in search of noncustodial dads who are behind on their support payments. They arrested 25 people in "raids" last week, one a dad who owes almost $125,000 in back support payments.