I just received an e-mail that said the following: "I've gone through the state since 2008 and still I have not received any child support. This is insane. Can you help?"
The State of Illinois has a free agency that will help you collect child support payments from a deadbeat parent. I've received calls and emails like this before, usually about one a day. The answer is that the state can't help you as well as a private attorney can, so if you can afford one, get one.
There was a celebrated report published a couple of years ago that said the state collected support in 37% of its cases. That's a great average for a baseball player, but for a single parent, it's lousy. It means that the state failed over 60% of the people that came to them. And the "success" rate refers to people that got some results, not everything they were entitled to.
It comes down to resources. The state service is free, so you can imagine how many cases they get. The system moves slow, and if your case is complicated, it moves even slower, if at all. They simply aren't equipped to handle tough cases, like when the other parent owns a business, works for cash or lives out of state.
A private attorney will have more resources to devote to your case and more of an incentive to succeed. You're paying them. They should be there when you have questions about your case or simply want an update. And if they don't do a good job for you and other people who come to them, they're going to go out of business. Overall, the success rate is higher.
For some people, the state is their only option. So it's good that it's free. But you get what you pay for. A good family law attorney usually costs at least $2,500 to start the case. It may cost more by the time it's over, but it's really an investment in your family and yourself.
On another note, I hosted a live chat in this space last month and it went well. I'll be doing another one on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. for about an hour. So if you ever had a question that you wanted to ask a lawyer, but didn't want to pay for it, that is your chance.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized