Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Past Due Child Support: Bone-headed legislation proposed - so nothing new in Springfield

House bill 5078 would require a parent owing back child support in an amount exceeding $10,000 to file a bond (as security) in the amount owed before that parent can seek to change visitation or custody.

If this passes it will be confirmation that the Illinois General Assembly has collectively lost its mind. An issue which requires precision handling (parents using custody to prevent collection of child support) is met with a hack-saw (throwing a child's best interest out the window to prevent a change of custody when otherwise needed). Why not just make the payment of support (or non-payment) a factor in custody determinations? Where a change of custody is brought with a backdrop of unpaid child support obligations, many times it is because the parent without custody wants to avoid future support, not do what's best for the children. Simply put, courts are best placed to make that call on a case-by-case determination, not the legislature on an all-or-nothing basis.