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Turning winnings into child support in Illinois

In most cases, parents are legally responsible for providing for their children even if they do not have primary custody. In the state of Illinois, as in many states across the country, fulfilling that responsibility typically involves contributing child support payments to help ensure that kids' needs are accounted for and met by both parents. Ideally, predetermined monthly payments are consistently made once they have been legally established. Though, there are instances where a parent stops providing for their child either by choice or circumstance. One proposed piece of legislation attempts to hold qualifying parents responsible for their financial obligations in cases where they come across large sums of money.

By working with organizations like Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the gaming industry, among others, one state senator has composed a bill that he hopes would help reconcile substantial losses from child support that goes unpaid each year.

The new legislation would require parents that owe back child support to pay up before they can receive their gambling winnings. The bill is designed to target those who have access to funds, but still do not fulfill their obligations. Garnishing gambling money would be used in conjunction with other techniques like withholding some tax refunds and driver's licenses in some instances.

Before collecting any winnings equaling more than $1,200, gamblers would have to acknowledge that they owe support payments by admitting to so on tax forms. In Illinois alone, it is estimated that more than $3 billion is owed in child support to families.

Given that the bill specifically singles out individuals who have access to surplus funds in the form of gambling winnings, it may be an effective way to reimburse kids for the financial support they're legally entitled to without unduly burdening parents.

Source:, "Bill secures jackpots of deadbeat parents," Chris Kaergard, March 26, 2013

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