Family Lawyers Who Mean Business

Former Illinois congressman says he can’t pay child support

A former congressman from Illinois wants to end his child support obligation because he does not have a job. Joe Walsh, who lost a bid for re-election in November, filed a request with a court in Cook County to terminate his obligation to pay child support. The filing stated that because Walsh’s employment terminated due to no fault of his own, he does not have sufficient earnings or assets to make monthly child support payments.

During Walsh’s campaign for the newly redrawn 8th District seat, the conservative Republican faced claims by opponents that he was a “deadbeat dad,” which he denied. He ultimately lost the election to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. The attorney for Walsh’s ex-wife says he did not make a child support payment in January 2013. He is obligated to pay $2,134 per month to support one child.

In Illinois, a child support formula is used to determine the amount of a non-custodial parent’s monthly support payments. The payments are based on a percentage of the parent’s net income, with consideration given to such other factors as the child’s everyday expenses, medical expenses and standard of living prior to divorce. If there is a change in circumstances, such as the loss of a job, a parent cannot simply stop making monthly support payments. Rather, he or she must apply to the court for a child support modification. If the original support order is not modified, a non-paying parent may be subject to a child support enforcement action.

A knowledgeable family law attorney may be able to assist with a request for child support modification by helping to put the request in the best possible light to the court. A lawyer could also help a custodial parent pursue an enforcement action if the other parent is not making monthly support payments.

Source: BND, “Ex-congressman seeks end to child support duties,” Feb. 11, 2013