Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
In the state of Illinois, parents ordered to pay child support must do so or face penalties from the court. One of the most important precepts in family law is that every child is entitled to support and care from both parents. Noncustodial parents who do not contribute financially to their child’s upbringing as ordered by the court face a series of increasingly harsh penalties, including wage garnishment, revocation of driving privileges and professional licenses, property liens, and tax refund interceptions. Non-paying parents are also subject to criminal prosecution.
Illinois’ Division of Child Support Services helps custodial parents seek child support from noncustodial parents. It also helps with paternity establishment, child support enforcement, and collection. Child support orders are added to Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) database. If the noncustodial parent fails to pay, collection activity is automatically started by DCSS.
When collection efforts fail, or if a noncustodial parent does not meet the support obligation for six months or more or owes the custodial parent more than $5,000, then DCSS can request prosecution for nonpayment of child support. The level of nonpayment enhances the fines and the amount of jail time faced. For instance, if a noncustodial parent fails to pay for six months and owes more than $5,000, he is charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the past-due support totals more than $20,000, the charge is enhanced to a Class 4 felony, and the person faces prison time of one to three years.
Expediting Collection Efforts
Because of the backlog of child support collection cases in the DCSS system, it can be a smart move to contact a lawyer to help with the enforcement of a child support order. A lawyer can ask for a hearing in front of a judge; the noncustodial parent will be required to attend or face arrest. The judge can expedite the process of support collection by ordering wage garnishment, placing liens on the noncustodial parent’s property, or requiring the noncustodial parent to place a bond in lieu of back support owed.
Contact a family lawyer at Levo-Donohoo LLC Attorneys at Law in Collinsville, IL, for help with your child support case or other divorce law matters.