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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

Child Support Questions

Divorce and Parenting Cases can offers opportunities to make a fresh start and improve your children's and/or your life. For help with your divorce in Chicago,

call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600.

Here are some questions that may cause a lot of stress and concern for a single parent:

(1) What happens if your ex does not pay child support? (2) Can you still receive child support if your ex goes to jail?

(3) Can you still receive child support if your ex does not have an income?

Many parents believe it may not be worth going to court for child support because they truly believe it is a lost cause. Their ex may be threatening that if they take him or her to court for child support they will counter with a custody dispute, or maybe their ex is a cash basis worker and the custodial parent thinks he or she cannot prove their ex’s income, or maybe their ex threatens never to see the children again. Regardless of the circumstances or what your ex is claiming, PLEASE KNOW that seeking financial assistance for your child is NEVER a lost cause. If your ex is a cash based worker, the court can impute a salary on him or her. If your ex tries to counter for “custody” they will have an uphill battle to prove you are an unfit parent. If your ex threatens not to see the children, the court may impose a higher child support amount due to the fact your ex doesn’t have overnights, which is one of the factors the court takes into consideration when computing child support. The court’s job is to not only find out the truth of the matter but also to ensure that statutory and/or need based child support payments are being made.

Financial assistance for your child is something you should seek to obtain. Children’s needs and expenses can be great. Remember, your child’s needs come first. It takes TWO parties to create a child and TWO parties to care for that child’s needs. Be assured that your ex is well aware of their legal obligation to pay child support as well as the consequences for failing to do so.

Being a single parent is extremely difficult. At MINIMUM the parent who is taking on the priority parental responsibilities is entitled to child support. Please do not EVER feel guilty for going after what your children and you need.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

1. What happens if your ex does not pay child support?

If your ex has stops paying child support (which was originally issued or approved by the court) your attorney can file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause also known as a contempt motion, against your ex. If the court rules that your ex is found to be a delinquent parent then the motion will be granted and your ex can face potential civil or criminal penalties. One of the penalties that a Court routinely grants is attorney’s fees and costs for the effort to collect the court ordered child support. Another penalty the Court routinely grants is statutory interest of 9% on the arrearage. The court can also go as far as to order your ex’s financial resources to be seized in order to compensate for the lack in child support payments, which can include his portions of disability checks, portions of social security checks, unemployment, tax refunds, retirement or any other sources of income or assets that the payor (one obligated to pay child support) might be receiving or other assets that the Payor owns.

1. Can you still receive child support if your ex goes to jail?

If your ex is in jail, yes, you can still receive child support. Going to jail does not imply that your child support payments will cease. The child support may be modified during his or her incarceration to reflect his current income or an income the Court imputes upon your ex, but Child Support payments will continue.

2. Can you seek the Court's assistance for an Increase in Child Support?

Another factor to keep in mind is that you may seek the Court’s assistance in reviewing your current payments to see if they need to be increased—the children have grown older and have more needs (extra curricular activities, therapy, medical, school fees). The custodial parent can ask the Payor (non custodial parent) to contribute to those same expenses. Jail or prison does not automatically mean that your child support payments are going to stop.

3. Can you still receive child support if your ex does not have an income?

If your ex does not have an income currently this also does not automatically imply that you will not receive child support payments. The court will set a minimum child support payment in almost all instances. Clearly your ex is living his or her life and has support of some sort, even if it’s third party, that can be deemed an “imputed salary.” In some cases your ex may be required to make a monthly child support payment based on their prior work history or potential earning capabilities (if they are currently unemployed). The court will evaluate your ex’s ability to find similar work to their previous status of employment and prior income.

If you want to learn more about child support or family law matters, please contact

Angela Larimer at (773) 370-0600 or

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