What Happens When One Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support?
The purpose of child support is to help the parent with the majority of the parenting time to pay expenses related to the care of the child. The state of Illinois takes the obligation to ensure children are adequately cared for very seriously. The courts will do everything in their power to make sure a child is receiving the funds necessary to maintain the same quality of life he or she had when his or her parents were married.
Consequences for Non-Payment
Child support is a requirement, not a suggestion. Those ordered by the courts to pay who consistently skip payments can face serious consequences. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services' Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is in charge of recording and monitoring child support payments. When a parent who should be receiving support notifies DCSS of the other parent's failure to pay court-awarded child support, DCSS will take steps to retrieve the support funds from the obligated parent. This happens automatically if the recipient parent is receiving public assistance. If the DCSS cannot convince the payer parent to pay his missed child support payments, they will use an Income Withholding for Support request. This orders the paying parent’s employer to withhold an additional amount in child support from the parent's earnings. Other methods of recovering child support payments from a non-paying parent include:
- Seizure of bank accounts;
- Interception of federal and state tax refunds;
- Property liens;
- Employing private collection agencies to assist with the collection effort; and
- Suspension, revocation or denial of a delinquent parent's driver's license, U.S passport, or professional, occupational, or recreational license.
If a payer parent does not pay court-ordered child support for over six months or owes more than $5,000, he or she may face state or federal prosecution. The parent could be ordered to pay fines and may be imprisoned. The amount of the fines and duration of imprisonment increases according to the amount of child support owed. A parent who fails to pay child support can be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor for failing to pay child support for six months or for owing more than $5,000. If the parent owes more than $20,000, he or she may be charged with a Class 4 felony and may face imprisonment for one to three years.
Dedicated Legal Assistance
If your child’s other parent is not paying his or her court-ordered child support or you owe support and do not know what to do, you need the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney. The experienced Wheaton, Illinois child support attorneys at MKFM Law can help you understand your legal options and take the best course of action possible. Contact us at 630-665-7300 to set up a confidential consultation today.