Family Law News: U.S. Congressman in Court over Back Child Support

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) will be in a family court because he has failed to pay ordered child support.  His former wife claims that the congressman is in arrears of $117,000.00, including interest, for the parties’ three children.  The Sun-Times also reports that Representative Walsh admits not paying the ordered child support, but did so based on an agreement with his former wife:

Walsh said he had a “verbal agreement” with his ex-wife allowing him to stop paying child support because his income had fallen, hers had gone up, and the children were living with him as much as with her.

[Ms. Laura Walsh’s attorney] Coladarci said [Rep.] Walsh should have gone to court to modify the judge’s order regarding child support if he felt he couldn’t afford the payments because the court order is an obligation to the couple’s children, not to his ex-wife.


Coladarci also said Laura Walsh never made any long-term agreement to let Joe Walsh out of his child-support responsibilities.

I see this type of scenario all the time in my Florida family law practice.  The person who owes child support or alimony (the “Obligor”) says that he made an agreement with the person receiving court-ordered support (the “Obligee”), only for the Obligee to later deny either (i) the terms of the agreement or (ii) that the agreement ever existed.

The only way to ensure that an agreement to reduce alimony or child support is enforceable is to get a family law judge to ratify it.  Additionally, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances and the Obligee refuses to agree to a reduction in your payments, you may be able to get the obligation reduced by re-opening your family law case.

Keep in mind that, if a judge reduces your support obligation, the reduction will only be retroactive to the date you filed a supplemental petition requesting reduction.  You will still owe any back alimony or child support that accrued prior to filing the supplemental petition.  In other words, the sooner you request that the Court reduce your support payments, the less money you will owe.

If you are looking to reduce your court-ordered child support or alimony payments and you wish to speak with a Florida family law attorney, schedule a consultation by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Family Law Explanation, Family Law News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Family Law News: U.S. Congressman in Court over Back Child Support

  1. Very good & knowledgeable post, keep it up !!

  2. babychaos1 says:

    My ex-husband just called me tonight asking if I will call child support and have his back pay removed adjusted. We did make an agreement within our divorce to remove some of the back pay in order for him to sign the divorce papers and I made a call and I was told they was not removing anything. Now reading your post looks like we will be headed to court! I’m in no rush, like he was in no rush to pay me for our children!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s