In this article, we answer the question, “can I stop paying child support if I don’t get to see my child?” We also answer, “does a parent who is not awarded parenting time in a divorce have to pay child support?”, “when is an unwed father required to pay child support?”, “can I stop paying child support if the other parent violates the parenting agreement?”, and “do I have to pay child support if my parental rights are terminated?”
For an overview of the current state of Illinois Child Support Law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.
The most important concept to understand with respect to this question is that child support obligations are not tied to parenting time and responsibility or the right of the obligor to spend time with the child. According to Illinois law, both parents have an obligation to financially support their children, even in the absence of parenting rights.
It should be noted that in shared parenting situations, spending more time with the child can reduce the amount of child support.
When parents are married and get a divorce, the law presumes that the husband is the father. A child support order will be entered as part of the divorce case. Parenting time and responsibility will also be adjudicated as part of that case. However, even in cases where one parent is not permitted to have parenting time, child support will still always be required if the child is a minor.
When parents are unwed, child support will not be required until paternity has been established. Once paternity has been established, the father will be financially obligated to support the child through child support, but will not automatically have any rights to access the child. The father’s parenting time and responsibility can be determined either as part of a paternity proceeding, or in a separate hearing (this often occurs when the father voluntarily acknowledges paternity). As in a divorce, if the father is never awarded parenting time or responsibility, he will still be obligated to pay child support.
If the residential parent violates the Parenting Agreement or parenting order by not allowing the other parent to engage in parenting time as required by the order, the other parent may not simply stop paying child support. The parent whose rights have been violated has recourse through the court system to enforce the parenting agreement. However, he or she must continue to pay child support throughout the process.
One situation in which a biological parent is not required to continue to pay child support is if his or her parental rights have been terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Termination of parental rights is a legally different concept from a court not allowing a parent to have access to the child. Generally, courts only terminate parental rights if another parent is willing to step into the shoes of the parent whose rights are being terminated. This generally occurs when the child is put up for adoption or adopted by the other parent’s spouse.
When parental rights are terminated, the parent whose rights are terminated will no longer have a parental relationship with the child. This means that he or she will not have any rights to see or communicate with the child and will also no longer have the obligation to financially support the child.