Bringing a child into the world is an awesome responsibility. A life is in constant need of support from his or her parents. Because of that dependency, Illinois law requires parents to support their children, even after the parent's marriage has come to a close. When a former spouse does not live up their obligation, the custodial parent can seek the court system's help in ensuring that the former spouse follows through.
Tori Spelling's husband, Dean McDermott may find that out the hard way. According to reports, McDermott has a teenage son from a prior marriage. The ex-wife has filed a claim in court alleging that McDermott is behind nearly $9,000 in child support. Her filing gives McDermott 30 days to pay up.
Reports do not say what the ex-wife will do if McDermott does not meet the deadline, but the law provides for a variety of mechanisms to compel parents to make good on their child support obligation. The most common is for the court to garnish the parent's wages or tax refund. If that does not work, the court can block the parent from renewing or getting a variety of licenses. And as a nuclear option, the court can even throw the parent in jail for a period of time.
What will come of this situation remains unclear. Perhaps McDermott will promptly make a payment to put the story to rest. Perhaps he will contest his ex-wife's story. Perhaps he will seek a downward reduction in future payments.
For readers, the takeaway of the story should depend on which side of the ledger you sit. If you are owed back child support, the court can be a powerful ally. If you owe back child support, don't wait until the other parent files paperwork with the court. Pay the debt if you can; ask the court to reduce your future support payments if you can't.
Source: SFGate, "Dean McDermott's ex-wife demands child support payments," Aug. 19, 2015