Child Support Discussion Topics

Posted by Erin Birt | Jan 08, 2011 | 0 Comments

People get heated about finances.  They become especially angry about child support and any delay in the payment of child support.  Such feelings are understandable.  The anger and strong emotions felt during the stressful time when no support is being paid causes many people to run to the courthouse to file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause for the failure to pay support.  This post will focus on Child Support Discussion Topics.

When I worked in the Child Support Division of the State's Attorney's Office, the child support courtroom was always packed, and there were always familiar faces.  Child support enforcement is and can be a long process and people may find themselves in the child support courtroom several times (actually many many times) throughout a child's life.

So what can be done?  Learning about the options and remedies available can help you avoid becoming a familiar face in the child support courtroom.  Enforcement remedies are typically used in litigation, but there is no reason why you can't discuss the remedies during mediation or during a meeting with your collaborative attorney.  Becoming knowledgeable about the various options available to litigants will give you tools to use during negotiations in mediation or the collaborative divorce process.

An article entitled “Maintenance, Support, and Underemployed Payors,” by Burton S. Hochberg and Kimberly A. Cook in the Illinois Bar Journal, January 2011, reminds us that certain remedies are available during tough economic times.  I will highlight the remedies discussed in the article so that you may create a list to discuss in mediation or with your collaborative attorney:

1. Job Diary – permissible due to the statutory “affirmative obligation” to support your child/children.  Ensures the payor is not voluntarily unemployed.  Also provides certain additional remedies for litigants (contempt and evidence).

2. Impute Income – can help prevent voluntary unemployment or voluntary reduction in salary/income. Used if court finds the person is voluntarily unemployed, attempting to evade support obligations, or unreasonably failed to take advantage of employment opportunities. Typically use income averaging.

3. 503(g) Trust – court can set aside assets/property into a trust to ensure payment of support.

4. Vocational Expert – help determine the highest level of employment capability and appropriate imputed income.

The above should be discussed either in mediation or with your attorney.   Prior to filing a petition, although do so if the other party will not mediate or engage in the collaborative process, use the above tools as discussion points in your mediation or collaborative sessions. For example,  parties may proactively set up a 503(g) trust or ask that a spouse spend some time creating a job journal prior to the next settlement conference.

Contact us to protect you from ongoing court battles as our clients are protected using our tips and Child Support Discussion Topics.

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About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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