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Disputing Child Support Amounts

 Posted on January 17, 2018 in Child Support

Naperville child support lawyersIf a divorcing couple has children, it is more likely than not that child support will be ordered payable by one parent (also called the obligor). However, depending on a number of factors, the court may arrive at a number with which the obligor is unhappy. While it is possible for an obligor to show that the support burden placed upon them is inequitable, doing so is very difficult, and attempts to shirk payments or otherwise avoid responsibility are not favorably looked upon by family courts.

The Child Support Formula

Illinois’ child support formula has undergone significant modifications in recent years. The formula was modified in early 2016, and again in 2017. The current formula is an “income shares” model as opposed to the single-parent model of before. This can mean that many may be confused about the process used to arrive at the amount they must pay. In the past, “hard percentages” were used, and only the obligor’s income was considered. An income shares model factors in both parents’ income as well as the amount of parenting time each parent enjoys. Considering such issues is simply more equitable than relying on a just one parent’s income.

That said, it is still possible for judges to deviate from the formula as long as they are able to show why they elect to do so. A common example is if one party’s income is very low or very high. If someone is unemployed or underemployed, it is not uncommon for the court to assign a value to child support payments based on potential income, rather than actual income. Comparatively, if someone’s income is extremely high, judges essentially may trust their own discretion as long as the amount ordered will not compromise the best interests of the child.

Disputes and Refusals to Pay

If you are the paying parent and you genuinely believe that the judge’s ruling is unjust or unfair, you are not without recourse. However, some parents simply think that the amount asked of them is too much and may pursue unethical means to avoid paying. One common method is to take a pay cut or even quit a job, and then allege that both their actual and potential income is reduced due to their circumstances. Another is to simply stonewall—meaning they not respond to requests or calls regarding the support issue.

If you are on the other side of the issue and are being denied your children’s rightful support payments, you also have recourse. Illinois’ Child Support Services Program through the Department of Healthcare & Family Services keeps track of each child support order granted, and if they are notified of a breach of the order, the agency will begin to attempt collection activity against the other parent. Other actions that may obtain results are intercepting tax refunds and revoking offending parents’ driver’s licenses.

Ask a Family Law Attorney

Support is a right that belongs to a child, not to a parent, and as such, it is taken very seriously when a parent refuses to pay. If you need help seeking support, our passionate DuPage County child support attorneys will do our best to assist. Call our office today to set up an appointment.


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