Are lump sum child support buy-outs allowed in Illinois paternity cases?



Back in the late 1990’s the unmarried parents of a child reached an agreement for the father to pay the mother a lump sum of $50,000 for current and future child support including medical expenses, college expenses, extracurricular activity fees and all other financial responsibility.  They further agreed that the Father would not have visitation with the child.  To formalize their agreement, the filed an action to establish his parentage of the child, and entered an Agreed Order stating the above.  The Order was signed by the Judge, it become a “Judgment” and they went their merry way.

Eighteen years later (during which time the father had no contact with the child pursuant to the parties’ agreement) the mother went back to court to seek more child support and for the father to contribute to the child’s college expenses.  The father hired me to fight against the mother’s request because of his lump sum payment eighteen years prior.  The mother’s position was that the child support law in Illinois for unwed parents says that lump sum child support “buy-outs” are acceptable IF there is no finding of paternity between the support Payor and the child.  In other words, in Illinois you can “buy out” any child support claim IF there is no finding of paternity at the time of the buy-out.  This occurs often when athletes or other high net worth fathers are accused of fathering children and want to prevent the cases from being made public record.

In THIS case the Court found that the Agreed Order entered decades ago did not act as a buy-out of support because there WAS a finding of paternity contemporaneously with the support payment.  Instead, the $50,000 payment acted as a credit towards any child support which would be calculated from the date the mother returned to Court for support.  Ultimately the case settled by the mother agreeing not to recalculate child support, and the father agreeing to pay the lion’s share of the child’s college educational expenses.  The sad part is that the father and child lost 18 years of contact and were denied having any relationship because of the deal the mother wanted, and received.  To me, in this case both parties lost, as did the child.   Real people, real cases, real results.