The parties had twins. The daughter had special needs. Mom was a stay-at-home mom. They were divorced a few years later. Dad was to pay $2800 child support per month to Mom.

Mom was allowed to travel with the children twice per year to visit her family in Uruguay. Mom traveled to Uruguay much more than ever intended. Dad was not able to visit with the children. He filed a motion in court to stop his child support.

Dad asked that child support be abated until the children are returned. He said that this was not fair. He was funding mom’s ongoing violation of the court’s orders. She had abducted the children. She was refusing to return the children to Illinois.

The law is clear. You can’t stop paying support because of visitation problems. You can’t stop allowing visitation because the other person is not paying support. Support and visitation are separate.

But, this was a unique problem. The Court was ready to do something unique.

The court said that this was not a mere violation of Dad’s visitation. Mom’s behavior was an extreme interference with Dad’s relationship with the children. The children were deprived of visitation with their father for over six months. They had not been going to school.

The Court denied Dad’s motion to abate support. It ordered him to open a trust account for the benefit of the children. Neither parent could make any withdrawals without a court order. Mom appealed.

The Appellate Court agreed that it had to protect the children’s interests. Trust was the right thing to do. Mom’s behavior was really out of line. It interfered with Dad’s relationship with the children. Dad needed to pay child support. This was the right solution to this problem.

IRMO Popa and Garcia, 2013 IL App (1st) 130818.

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