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Dealing with exes who don’t pay child support

Many Illinois parents have difficulties with former spouses who are unable or unwilling to pay child support. In many cases, it can be difficult to find a way to improve the odds of receiving child support from such a parent. However, some strategies offer a better chance for payment than others.

One important thing to remember is that it’s often beneficial to keep the other parent involved. Many parents feel justified in keeping a parent not paying child support from seeing their child. However, keeping the noncustodial parent involved with their children can help improve the odds that they make an attempt to pay child support later, even if they cannot today. In addition, the logic works both ways. A parent who is not able to see their child because the custodial parent won’t allow it may feel they have no reason to pay child support later.

A common problem arises when a parent truly cannot afford to pay their payments. In these cases, it can benefit both the custodial and noncustodial parent to modify the amount of child support owed. This allows the noncustodial parent to work out legal issues that can arise from not paying child support, and, if the noncustodial parent does get the ability to pay, the court can raise the award to a higher level again.

These steps may provide a way to help resolve a contentious child support issue in a way that is beneficial to both parties. Many noncustodial parents may appreciate an understanding individual who allows them to continue seeing their children or agrees to a modification to their payments to something they can afford. Although these steps may mean less support now, they can lead to more payments in the long run.

Source: US News and World Report, “What to Do When Your Ex Won’t (or Can’t) Pay Child Support”, Geoff Williams, November 20, 2013