As divorced or separated parents in Illinois figure out how to continue raising their children after their relationship has ended, they might face situations related to child support and child custody. However, they must remember that these two issues are seen as separate by the court.
Receiving support is a child’s right
Whether or not a parent chooses to exercise their parental right to custody and visitation, children have the right to receive financial support from their parents. Financial support is established so that the child’s financial requirements, including health and educational needs, are fully covered.
Parenting time and the best interests of the child
Parents can exercise their right to child custody and visitation after a divorce even if they have failed to pay their child support. Whether the parent pays support consistently or not, the courts will consider the best interests of the child in order to decide whether to award shared custody or visitation. In most cases, courts believe it is in the best interests of the child to continue their relationship with both parents.
What if a parent fails to pay support?
Using a parent’s failure to pay for child support to prevent them from seeing their child can have legal ramifications. If your ex-spouse has fallen behind on payments, they should still be able to spend time with their child. However, you can take legal steps to rectify the situation, including:
• Ensuring there is a child support order from the court
• Seeking to have your ex declared in contempt of court for ignoring the child support order
• Asking for wage garnishment through the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Parents involved in situations where child support is not being paid should not take matters into their own hands. They should use the legal channels to ensure that their children’s rights and their own rights are being respected.