New Law Affects Child Support Enforcement in Illinois
Getting the financial support a child needs to do well is a priority for all parents who receive this money. Often, this parent is the child’s primary caregiver, meaning without child support from the other parent, they would be solely responsible for the high cost of raising the child. Being a single parent has enough burdens without the added stress of not receiving regular child support and finding oneself struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the child is the one who is the most negatively affected by this situation because the non-payment of child support means the child must forego certain opportunities.
The state of Illinois has a vested interested in both parents supporting their children and offers a number of enforcement options to compel payment. A standard consequence of failing to pay child support is the suspension of the delinquent parent’s driver’s license. However, starting this year, the penalty for being caught driving on a suspended license related to unpaid child support was reduced to a petty crime. Petty crimes are purely fineable offenses, whereas misdemeanors, the former classification for license suspension related to child support, could include jail time. Thus, the delinquent parent has less incentive to become compliant because the consequences for not paying are now lower. Child support enforcement should still be pursued, but this new change is worth noting.
Child support orders, whether issued as part of divorce or paternity proceedings, are not something a parent can choose to ignore without facing consequences. The parent receiving support is entitled to seek enforcement with the courts to secure this right for the child. The primary way a parent can ask the court to enforce a child support order is to submit a petition for contempt. Violating a court order is not permissible, and a judge can order a delinquent parent to settle the arrears that includes interest after 30 days, or the parent may face jail time until some portion of the amount due is paid. Probation may also be ordered, and if jailed, but released to work, a parent may have his/her wages garnished to settle the overdue amount. In addition, if the parent owns a business, the court can order the seizure of these assets to put toward the back child support.
Furthermore, prosecutors do have the option of filing misdemeanor or felony charges, depending upon the amount owed, the length of the delinquency, and the number of offenses. A conviction on any of these charges can bring jail time and hefty fines.
Child Support Services Enforcement
An alternative to seeking direct court intervention for the enforcement of a child support order is to ask the State Child Support Services Division to use its authority to compel payment. This office collects, establishes, distributes, and enforces child support, and it has a number of options to coerce or force a parent into paying, including:
- Wage garnishment
- Suspending driver’s licenses
- Seizing financial accounts
- Putting liens against property
- Seizing tax refunds
Talk to a Hoffman Estates Child Support Lawyer
Child support obligations are serious matters that need the attention of an experienced family law attorney if there is any issue with payment or the amount. Passionate Mt. Prospect family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson understands the plight of each parent, and he can effectively represent either side of this situation to achieve a fair and appropriate outcome. Contact our firm at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free initial consultation.