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Illinois parents owes billions in back child support

Photo of Karen Lavin

Back child support is a serious issue with significant ramifications. In fact, in Illinois non-custodial parents owe over $3 billion in back child support to their children. Children on the losing side of that number know just how big a family law issue child support can be. To help unravel the hardship that over $3 billion in back child support is, one Illinois lawmaker has proposed to a bill that would garnish gambling winnings.

The lawmaker estimates that the new bill would bring at least one million dollars its first year. That may be a drop in the bucket, but, according to the lawmaker, every drop helps.

If passed, the bill would be just the latest tool in the state's child-support-collection arsenal. Illinois, like many other states, already can garnish wages and withhold several kinds of licenses, including a person's driver's license, recreational licenses (such as for hunting and fishing) and even their professional license.

As the $3 billion back log suggests, late child support payments is a problem. Some of that $3 billion comes from parents who do not want to pay, but in many other cases, the parent simply cannot pay. For the latter category, options are available.

The main option is to seek a downward reduction in their child support payments. To do that, they must file a child support modification order with the court showing that a significant change in circumstances such as health issues, a job loss or a downturn in business. If you can document these kind of serious, involuntary changes have happened, the court will likely reduce your child support obligation down to a more manageable level.

Source: Peoria Journal Star, "In the Spotlight: Child support payments should be sure thing, not a gamble," Darin LaHood, May 17, 2013

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