Most Illinoisans likely have dreamed of winning the lottery. Cash may have been tight with the bills piling up. Or they may have wanted the freedom to find a different job, but could not risk leaving their current one. For one lucky man, that dream came true and with it came the end of a major family law issue: back child support.
The man, who ran a struggling bodega, fathered five children and owed roughly $30,000 in unpaid child support. After winning, the man put the bodega up for sale and went to court to resolve that debt.
But he apparently had other plans as well, because he told the judge that his children would start living with him. The children's mother did not participate in the proceeding, however, so it is unclear what will happen next with the children's child custody arrangement.
The man's good fortune enabled him to escape from a troubling situation, but Illinoisans cannot rely on a stroke of luck to help them address burdensome child support payments. Instead, they need to take action immediately. The longer they wait, the larger the bill since judges cannot forgive child support already owed. They can only reduce future obligations.
That action should start by talking with the other parent. If the two of you can come to agreement, that is usually cheaper and better for both parties.
The next step, if talking does not work, is to file a motion seeking modification of your child support order. To buttress the motion, document anything that shows you have gone through a significant change in life circumstances. That would include documents demonstrating, for example, that you lost or changed your job, had your income reduced or have major medical bills.
Source: Newsday, "Powerball winner, Pedro Quezada, pays $30G in child support," April 1, 2013