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Winnebago County behind on prosecuting "deadbeat parents"

Two years ago the Winnebago County State's Attorney's office made a promise to go after "deadbeat parents" who do not pay child support as ordered, but there still have been few successful cases. The state's attorney's office claims that prosecution has not been easy, although this excuse does not sit well with the parents who are struggling to support their children without these necessary payments.

There are approximately 3,000 open child support enforcement cases in Winnebago and Boone counties with another 1,000 added each year, according to court records. The state attorney claims that in order for a case to be prosecuted successfully, the non-custodial parent must be employed or have the ability to pay and must have chosen not to pay for a certain amount of time. He says that he still intends to bring charges against those parents.

Parents who do not respond to summons or refuse to make payments can theoretically be put in jail for contempt; however, judges are reluctant to use this option because a parent in jail cannot earn money to pay the arrearage. Judges usually prefer to give parents a chance to work and pay their debt, but many parents are taking advantage of these chances and simply do not make the payments as required.

The problem of collecting child support from a non-custodial parent is not new. A parent who is contemplating divorce or who is trying to collect back child support may find that hiring a family law attorney speeds up the process and allows for a better chance to hold the non-custodial parent accountable for the payments.

Source: WIFR.com, "Collecting child support from deadbeat parents," Meghan Dwyer, Nov. 27, 2012

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