“I am a single mother of three. I have been divorced for a couple of years now and have been receiving child support until recently when I didn’t get a check in the mail. I confronted my ex and he informed me that I would get a whole check at the end of the month, not saying why. Come Monday morning I got on the phone and made a few calls. He worked for the State at the Pontiac Prison. So, my first call was to payroll at Pontiac. They of course gave me another number to call. This lady then informed me that he wasn’t on the payroll. So, of course I figured it out for myself. He either quit or was fired. Well, he quit. He was the children’s insurance carrier and helped out with child support. Now we have neither.
My main question is about when we go to court this month. We are going on his behalf. He plans to get the child support taken care of because he has no income. I don’t know how any judge is going to look at him and give him any credit for quitting a good job especially without another one So, when and if they say that he’ll have to make up the missed child support, what income will they go by? Then what about the insurance? Will they make him take it out on the children again when he gets a new job?”
When I read your question, my first thought was “which side of the bars was this guy on?” In most places, courts are not too happy with parents who quit their jobs to avoid child support. In the cases where I’ve seen this in the past, the court has often refused to reduce the child support, has lectured the supporting parent, and insisted that he (or she) pay up immediately or spend some time in jail. (I don’t know if Illinois is as strict as the states where I’ve been but most states put collecting child support as a high priority.)
You don’t say how you know he quit. Are you assuming he quit? And do you know if leaving his job had anything to do with the child support? What proof do you have? If you have proof, is it admissible in court or is it hearsay? In court, the key is showing that he really did quit his job with the intention of not supporting his children. You’ll have to follow the rules of evidence so only certain kinds of proof will be heard by the court. A lawyer can subpoena his work records, can question your ex in court, and can help the court uncover the truth. I did a quick on-line search and found that Illinois has a child support enforcement office. See: http://www.ilchildsupport.com/helpus.html and give them a call to see if they can help.
If they can’t help, you must get a lawyer. If you can’t afford one, call your local legal aid office. Your state probably also has a lawyer referral number. Look in the yellow pages at the front of the Attorney listings. In many states, lawyers on the referral list offer a special rate for first consultations that is less than regular rates. Borrow the money if you have to. You don’t want to risk losing your child support. Sometimes a court may even order him to reimburse your attorney fees.
It is unfortunate that you’ll need to take the drastic step of battling in court with the father of your children. I hope you haven’t said anything in front of the children about this situation. Remember, when you make negative comments about their father, you’re disparaging a part of them as well. Do your best to keep the child support issue away from the children. Knowing their father is not supporting them will also hurt them. In the long run, it will be much better for your children if your ex and you learn to work out your differences without going to court.