How Does Deportation Affect Child Support Collections?

How Does Deportation Affect Child Support Collections?

By: M. Scott Gordon

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has emphasized that Chicago is a “sanctuary city,” which means that, when it comes to deporting persons who may be living in the city illegally, “ICE agents will get limited if any cooperation from local authorities, including the Police Department and the Cook County sheriff’s office, which operates the jail,” according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. Yet what happens if a parent who is obligated to pay child support is indeed deported from Chicago? In another type of scenario, what happens if the child lives in Chicago, but the payor parent is deported from another region of the country that has not identified itself as a “sanctuary” location as Chicago has? Are there still options for child support collections?

How Deportations Affect the Well-Being of a Child

The question of deportation and child support is not a new one. Even though the dangers of deportation have become more pronounced in the current political climate, researchers have been investigating the relationship between parent deportations and support obligations for quite some time. Indeed, according to an article in The Atlantic, a report from the Migration Policy Institute, created in collaboration with the Urban Institute, explored the connection between a child’s well-being and a parent’s deportation.

When it comes to a child’s well-being, there are effects that stretch far beyond economics. For instance, that report suggested that “behavioral problems can arise at a school as a result of depression and anger.” At the same time, and perhaps more immediately, “economic security can become tenuous” when a parent who is the primary earner, or the child support payor, is deported. To be sure, the article emphasizes that “the fathers who are deported are often primary breadwinners, leaving mothers and children behind without financial support.”

Additional immigration matters can compound the loss of income. For instance, in situations where a child support order was in place but the payor parent was deported, the custodial parent may encounter language barriers when seeking assistance with enforcement or child support collections. Moreover, there is a possibility that the custodial parent is not yet a U.S. citizen, and may fear for his or her own legal status in the country as a result of seeking assistance with child support collection from a government agency.

Collecting Child Support from a Parent in Another Country

When a parent is deported, the emotional and psychological toll can be harmful enough. If that parent then fails to make child support payments, the economic toll can be devastating. Is there a way to obtain child support from a parent in another country? If your child’s parent was deported or simply has left the country and you are not receiving child support payments as stipulated by a child support order, you may be eligible to receive assistance with child support enforcement.

When it comes to seeking assistance outside of Illinois, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is, according to its website, “the U.S. Central Authority for international child support.” As the website clarifies, the OCSE “works with states and countries to provide assistance to families seeking support when family members live in different countries.”

Discuss Your Situation with a Chicago Child Support Collections Lawyer

Do you have questions about enforcing a child support order? A Chicago child support collections lawyer can help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today.