Child Support Concerns

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A basketball injury didn't earn Ed Conley any sympathy from the state's Division of Child Support Enforcement, despite his 13-years of mostly on-time payments.

"There were breaks in my leg I have got 2 plates 19 screws in there. I didn't just sprain my ankle and want to stay off work," Conley says.

The electrician was off the job for three months and his ex-wife didn't get any of the 38-hundred dollars owed for those three months either.

"She hired an attorney and that attorney contacted me and basically said I had to pay in full what was owed right then, and sent papers wanting me to be sent to jail."

In Illinois, the Association for Children for Enforcement Support says nearly three billion dollars are owed in back child support. More than one in three cases are in collection, making us one of the worst states in the country. And while Conley promised to pay once he returned work, his ex-wife's attorney, Donald Ray says he should have come up with the money sooner.

"He could file motions to where they could have child support reduced because they don't have any income to pay for child support," says Attorney Ray.

Unfamiliar with what to do, Conley tried getting help through the child support hot line.

"Three different times I called that number and got put on hold for 20 minutes and then it says due to the high call volumes your call will now be dropped," Conley says.

I wanted to see if Conley was right. So I called and it took more than five minutes to speak to someone. And then I was transferred a half-dozen times before deciding to hang up.

"I don't think this hot line is very helpful at all. I get a complaint practically everyday on how terrible the hot line is," Ray says.

He says they best way someone can get advice is to speak with an attorney. Authorities at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services say they're continuing efforts to find a way to simplify the child support hot line. So people like Conley don't find themselves in such of a predicament.

If you have questions regarding child support you can visit the Department of Healthcare and Family Services at 1114 Taylor St. in Rockford. There is no local phone number available. So you must stop by between 8-30 and five Monday through Friday.

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