If your child’s other parent is behind on their child support in an amount worth 90 days or 3 months worth of support, you can ask that your child’s other parent’s Illinois driver’s license be suspended.
“If an obligor has been adjudicated in arrears in court ordered child support payments in an amount equal to 90 days obligation or more but has not been held in contempt of court, the circuit court may order that the obligor’s driving privileges be suspended.” 625 ILCS 5/7-703(b)
The court must then forward this form to the Illinois Secretary of State to suspend the child-support delinquent parent’s driver’s license.
“If the circuit court orders that the obligor’s driving privileges be suspended, it shall forward to the Secretary of State, on a form prescribed by the Secretary, an authenticated document certifying the court’s order suspending the driving privileges of the obligor.” 625 ILCS 5/7-703(b)
The child support delinquent parent’s Illinois driver’s license will remain suspended until all of the child support is paid.
“The obligor’s driver’s license shall be suspended until such time as the Secretary of State receives authenticated documentation that the obligor is in compliance with the court order of support. When the obligor complies with the court ordered child support payments, the circuit court shall report the obligor’s compliance with the court order of support to the Secretary of State, on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, and shall order that the obligor’s driver’s license be reinstated.” 625 ILCS 5/7-702(b)
The court will have to send this form of compliance with child support to the Illinois Secretary of State in order for the parent’s driver’s license to be reinstated.
The Penalty For Driving On A Suspended Driver’s License
People that do not pay their court-ordered child support don’t care much about the law. Just because a person’s license is suspended does not mean they will not drive. If a person with a suspended license does drive in Illinois and they are caught driving, they will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
“[A]ny person who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on any highway of this State at a time when such person’s driver’s license, permit, or privilege to do so or the privilege to obtain a driver’s license or permit is revoked or suspended as provided by this Code …shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.” 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a)
A class A misdemeanor can carry a possible jail sentence. “The sentence of imprisonment [for a class A misdemeanor] shall be a determinate sentence of less than one year.” 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55
Getting caught a second time driving on a suspended drivers’ license has certain minimum penalties.
“[A]ny person convicted of a second violation of this Section shall be ordered by the court to serve a minimum of 100 hours of community service.” 625 ILCS 5/6-303(c-1)
A third or subsequent conviction of driving on a license which was suspended for failure to pay Illinois child support will carry triple the penalty.
“[A]ny person convicted of a third or subsequent violation of this Section shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 30 days or 300 hours of community service, as determined by the court.” 625 ILCS 5/6-303(d-1)
Of course, if you are the parent owed child support, you do not care if your child’s parent is in jail or not…you want your child support.
In fact, there’s a faster way to get child support from a parent with a car…sell their car.
Selling The Car Of A Parent Who Is Behind On Child Support In Illinois
If you are owed child support and the parent who owes the child support has assets such as a car, you can request that the sheriff seize and sell that asset to pay the outstanding child support.
Failure to pay child support will put a parent in indirect civil contempt of court. Upon a finding of contempt, the court can appoint a sequestrator (the sheriff) to seize the contemnor’s assets.
Sequestration is “[a] writ authorizing the taking into the custody of the law of the real and personal estate (or rents, issues, and profits) of a defendant who is in contempt” Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)
“A “sequestrator’…is typically appointed to seize and manage or sell the assets held by a noncomplying party in order to enforce a judgment.” In re Marriage of Pick, 521 NE 2d 121 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1988
“[S]equestration is a remedy specifically noted as an available technique to enforce a judgment of dissolution…and a sequestrator has been held to have the very powers authorized in the instant case — to seize and manage or sell assets awarded to a respondent to satisfy nonpayment of monies awarded in a judgment of dissolution.” In re Marriage of Hilkovitch, 124 Ill. App. 3d 401, 423 (Ill. App. Ct. 1984)
Only the Sheriff of your county has the authority to sequester a vehicle for the purposes of sale to satisfy a judgment.
“[T]he sheriff [is] the only party authorized to enforce judgments through the sale of personal property.” In re Marriage of Pick, 521 NE 2d 121 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1988
“All property ordered to be delivered up shall, except as otherwise provided in this Section, be delivered to the sheriff to be collected by the sheriff or sold at public sale and the proceeds thereof applied towards the payment of costs and the satisfaction of the judgment.” 735 ILCS 2-1402(c)
Why bother with sequestration of a car when a contempt finding could also allow you to request a body attachment (a civil order of arrest)?
A body attachment may have a bond which is less than the total child support that is owed. The other parent may not be afraid of jail. The other parent may not be locatable by the sheriff (but then the car is usually also not locatable).
Essentially, sequestration can be another arrow in your quiver of enforcement options. It certainly beats merely hoping that someone will pay you someday, maybe.
If you have more questions about child support and its enforcement in Illinois, contact my Chicago, Illinois family law firm to learn more about all your options.