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Suburban child-support delinquencies on the rise

When a parent is ordered to pay child support and doesn't do it on time, it has a wide-ranging effect on a lot of people, particularly children. A recent probe into child-support cases in the Chicago suburbs reveals that delinquencies there have risen at a much faster rate than in the state of Illinois as a whole.

When child support payments are late or missing, existing problems get worse for all parties. While the parents who are obligated to pay see their bills mount, the parents who are owed the money may already be struggling to make ends meet and can hardly do without the funds that are supposed to help take care of their children.

Between 2008 and 2010, several suburban Illinois counties have seen stark increases in the number of cases that are in arrears. Kane County showed a 24 percent increase, while Lake County's cases went up 43 percent. DuPage County had a 48 percent increase, while McHenry County had a whopping 66 percent increase of cases in arrears over the same period. In Cook County, the numbers were much more modest: while there was an 8 percent increase from 2008 to 2009, Illinois' most populous county actually had a decrease in reported cases for 2010.

Part of the reason for the increase is apparently due to people turning to the state of Illinois for assistance to enforce their child-support cases. While the government may be good at tracking the number of cases, its value to a parent to enforce a child-support order is far from assured-particularly with the increasingly large number of cases in arrears. One option for parents in need of assistance is to seek the help of a qualified attorney to navigate complex child support matters.

Source: The Daily Herald, "Delinquent child-support cases grow in suburbs," Mike Riopell and Kerry Lester, Nov. 28, 2011

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