Can I Get Child Support if the Father is an Illegal Immigrant?
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
In many family law situations, it can be difficult enough to ensure that the father of your child pays his child support obligation without additional complicating factors of immigration status. However, given the complexities of U.S. immigration law and concerns about child support collections when a parent is not a U.S. citizen, you may be wondering if you will be able to get child support if the father of your child is an illegal immigrant.
In other words, will the court order the father of your child to contribute to the child support obligation if he is in the U.S. illegally? And what will happen regarding the child support obligation if he leaves the country or gets deported?
These are complex issues, but it is important to know that your child is entitled to support regardless of a parent’s citizenship or immigration status. Accordingly, although it may be more difficult to obtain child support from a parent who is an illegal immigrant for certain reasons.
That parent is still obligated to pay child support under Illinois law, and a child support attorney in Chicago and our area can help to ensure your child receives the support she or he needs and deserves.
Determination of Child Support Obligation is Not Based on Immigration or Citizenship Status
When you are separating from your child’s other parent and that parent is an illegal immigrant, you might be concerned that the court will not require that parent to pay child support because of his immigration status.
To be clear, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does not distinguish between parents who are lawful citizens or immigrants in the U.S. and those who have come into the country illegally. Regardless of immigration or citizenship status, a parent is obligated to contribute to child support.
Illinois uses the “income shares” model to determine the total child support obligation. Accordingly, the court will combine the net incomes of both parents—including a parent who is an illegal immigrant—to determine the total child support obligation. Next, the court will apportion the child support obligation based on each parent’s total net income, total parenting time, and other factors that the court determines to be relevant.
In the court order, each parent will be required to contribute a particular amount to the total child support obligation regardless of whether either or more parents are in the U.S. legally. To be sure, a parent does not get out of a child support obligation because he is not lawfully residing or working in the U.S.
Collecting Child Support from a Father Who is an Illegal Immigrant
If the child’s father is in the U.S. illegally and fails to make payments on his child support obligation, child support collections options that would be available to any other parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful resident can be applicable. For example, you may be able to ask the court to garnish wages or a bank account, or the non-paying parent may be held in contempt.
When an illegal immigrant parent is deported, the child support obligation still does not cease. However, it can be more difficult to enforce the child support order and to actually ensure that the parent makes payments. You should work with your Chicago area child support lawyer in such a situation to go through the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE) to determine options for child support collections following the father’s deportation.
Contact Our Chicago Area Child Support Lawyers
Do you have questions about child support in relation to immigration status? Our Chicago child support attorneys are here to help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to learn more about our services.