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Are all deadbeat parents as deadbeat as they seem in Illinois?

The buzz term "deadbeat" dad is a popular way of describing fathers who fail to pay their child support according to divorce agreements and/or fail to be present in their children's lives. The term is negative, and the fathers it applies to are often considered as men who completely shirk their parental responsibilities and do not care at all about their children. In many cases, though, this view of a parent who fails to fulfill his or her child support guidelines is not necessarily true.

Any parent, whether male or female, can become "deadbeat." Nevertheless, it is important to remember that "deadbeat" refers to a parent who has, of his or her own free will, chosen not to pay child support and not to be supportive of his or her children. This aspect of freely making the choice not to be supportive out of one's own free will is an important distinction.

In reality, most men and women who end up being called deadbeat parents simply do not have enough money to pay for their child support costs. For example, in approximately 66 percent of situations where a father fails to meet his child support obligation, it is due to the fact that he cannot afford it -- not because he does not want to be supportive. It is indeed a sad situation when a father or mother who has a great deal of love for his or her children is economically unable to meet child support demands and is painted as a bad and unethical parent.

The consequences of not satisfying one's child support guidelines can be severe, from wage garnishing to license suspensions to even spending time in jail. Fortunately, though, for Illinois parents who cannot afford their child support, legal options are available to ask for an adjustment to be made to lower their monthly obligation. In such cases, it is always best to request such an adjustment as soon as possible to avoid the stiff legal repercussions of getting behind on payments.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Myth of the "Deadbeat Dad" Label" Joseph E. Cordel, Apr. 09, 2014

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