Child Support Payments Took a Hit Due to U.S. Economy

In Illinois, many parents rely on child support in order to provide for their children. Child support payments allow custodial parents to allocate funds towards food, clothing, daycare, tuition and other expenses. All of these expenses add up quickly, and for any parent it can become overwhelming when trying to keep up with all of the other payments such as housing, insurance and a car loan.

In Illinois, a custodial parent may receive child support up until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. There are some cases when a parent would qualify for child support beyond that. Overall, many parents are entitled to receive funds in order to pay for the expenses of taking care of a child. However, this economy is proving to be difficult to pay and receive child support.

According to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Child Support Enforcement, child support payments fell in the U.S. in 2009. This is the first decrease in payments for more than three decades. It is believed that more custodial parents are receiving less in child support because of the horrible mess our economy is in. Reports show that in Illinois, 88% of child support cases were delinquent at some point in the fiscal year of 2009.

The amount of personal bankruptcies has risen, unemployment and underemployment levels are high and debt continues to increase. People are struggling to make ends meet, and in some cases individuals may choose not to make a full child support payment. Parents on both sides are struggling. One parent can’t make the payment and the other doesn’t get the money to support the child. The director for California Child Support Services Department explained, “For many of our families, [child support payments are] the difference between being in poverty and rising out of it.”

Family law attorneys can help custodial and noncustodial parents work out child support agreements that are manageable and accurately based. Family law attorneys can also speed up the process so that parents can possibly collect payments that are delinquent and still owing. Many can become frustrated with the legal process, but family law attorneys work to ensure that payments are correctly calculated and enforced in a timely manner.

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