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Are Incarcerated Parents Required to Pay Child Support in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

Cook County divorce attorney child support

The average cost of raising a child through age 18 is estimated to be over $250,000. As any parent can tell you, having children is expensive. Child support is a key source of financial assistance for single parents in Illinois. Most unmarried and divorced parents rely on child support for help with housing, education, childcare, food, and other costs. These financial needs do not disappear because the parent responsible for paying child support is incarcerated in jail or prison.  

Illinois Courts May Deviate from Statutory Guidelines When a Parent is in Jail

Illinois child support payments are based on both parents’ net incomes and, if the parents have a similar amount of parenting time, each parent’s allocated parenting time. The amount that a parent pays in child support is proportional to his or her net income. The parent with the greater share of parenting time receives child support from the parent with less parenting time or “obligor.” Usually, the amount of child support that an obligor pays is determined by statutory formulas and tables. However, an incarcerated parent is usually not earning an income while in prison so courts may deviate from the statutory formulas when a parent is incarcerated.

Being in Jail or Prison Does Not Automatically Relieve a Parent of Child Support Obligations

Some assume that parents in jail cannot make money so they are automatically cleared of their child support obligation. This is not the case. According to case law, courts have discretion regarding an incarcerated parent’s child support obligation. The court will consider:

  • The incarcerated parent’s assets

  • The reason for imprisonment

  • The duration of the prison or jail sentence

  • The possibility of work release

If parents are divorcing and one parent is in jail, the parent entitled to child support may petition the court for a greater share of the marital estate in order to cover child-related costs. Illinois law states that, if it is needed to protect the child’s best interests, the court may set aside marital or nonmarital property for minor or dependent children.

If the parents are unmarried, the parent entitled to child support may choose to wait until the incarcerated parent is released from jail and then file a motion to enforce child support. The released parent will then be expected to pay current and past-due child support.

Contact a Hinsdale Child Support Lawyer

If you are a parent who wants to enforce or establish child support and your child’s other parent is incarcerated, an accomplished Cook County child support attorney can help. Call Botti Marinaccio, LTD today at 630-575-8585 to schedule a personalized case consultation to learn more.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K505.htm

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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