Divorce can upend the financial stability that is often felt throughout a marriage. What was once a single household supported by two incomes suddenly becomes two households each supported by one income. This can make for a challenging adjustment, and many individuals find themselves facing economic uncertainty. This is especially true when children are involved. Although a child may be in the physical custody of one parent, the expectation is that both parents will contribute to the child's upbringing.
For many Illinois residents, this means that they will be burdened with a child support obligation. Even those who are well-meaning and intend to pay this obligation can fall behind due to unforeseen circumstances. Although modification of child support is always an option, sometimes people wait until it is too late, as they have already accumulated arrearages that are overwhelming.
Fortunately, these individuals may be able to find relief. Illinois has a "Clean Slate Program" that seeks to allow child support payers to escape back-owed child support payable to the state if they can complete the program. The program essentially requires an individual to demonstrate that he or she was unable to make the payments due to incarceration, unemployment or a serious illness.
Documentation must be provided to the state, and a certain number of payments must be paid in full and on time in order for the slate to be wiped clean. Although this program can be extremely beneficial to those who owe child support, it is important to realize that it does not affect arrearages owed to a custodial parent. Those amounts will still need to be paid.
Child support is an important and oftentimes contentious issue that can reshape a family's financial landscape for years to come. This is why it is important to understand the legalities involved. By knowing the law, individuals may be able to craft legal arguments that support their position, thereby better ensuring that their and their children's financial health remains intact. To learn more about how to competently deal with child support issues, individuals should contact a family law attorney of their choosing.