Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Methods to Collect Child Support Against the Self-Employed

There are certain people it is just hard to collect child support against. One such "class" of classless persons can be the self-employed. No doubt there are very conscientious and straight-forward self employed individuals that never play games with their incomes and pay proper support. However, in my practice I have found another group of self-employed that do play such games.

Generally, I follow the rule of thumb that if someone is inclined to cheat the IRS, they are also inclined to cheat on paying support. These are the individuals that, on an tax return, show minimal personal and business income but for some reason, always have a new car and big home, take extravagant vacations and buy expensive gifts for their new significant other.

While it is generally settled that what you show on your income taxes is not the end of in inquiry into what someone's income is for support purposes, it is still a difficult battle - one waged in courtrooms across the state. Recently, another tool was given to those seeking child enforcement.

Public Act 97-1029 was passed into law. It was a bill sponsored by Kirk Dillard (yes, the guy running for governor) and it authorizes a judge to order a self-employed person who is found in contempt for failing to pay child support to provide monthly financial statements from the business or the self-employment. If such a person also reports curiously low self-employment income, the court can require that person to seek employment and report to the court information about his or her employment search and/or report to the unemployment office for job-search services to find employment that will be subject to child support withholding. This law became effective on January 1, 2013. This law is part of the child support statute at 750 ILCS 5/505

There is no magical cure to forcing someone to pay support. Often times it is an uphill battle where the person who owes support pays would rather pay more in attorney fees to fight his or her support obligations than the person would have been obligated to pay in support in the first place. And if you throw in the issue of a cash business, the problems are even bigger. What is needed is careful analysis of not only the law and methods to collect, but also options and likelihood of success. A good lawyer should help you through this no matter what side of the argument you are on.