Child support is one of the issues Illinois parents most frequently disagree about after their divorce. Even if you were never married to your child’s other parent, child support is an issue that is likely to come up repeatedly until your child reaches legal adulthood–and, if they attend college, perhaps even after that.
If you are receiving child support payments from your child’s other parent and the payments stop, even for a short time, you may be unable to provide for your child. Rather than trying to resolve the problem yourself, it is recommended that you get help from an experienced Illinois child support attorney, who can work with you to get payments back on track as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about your options.
What You Should Do When Child Support Is Not Getting Paid
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a copy of a formal order from a court about child support. Some parents, especially unmarried parents who share only one very young child, make an informal agreement about visitation and child support. While this may work for a while, if either parent reneges on the agreement, the other parent has no legal recourse if there’s no existing court order.
Once you have a formal court order, there are a couple of options for recovering child support. The first option might be to contact the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS provides services free of charge, and although they have effective tools at their disposal for recovering child support, they are often overloaded with cases, and it can take a very long time for your case to work its way through their system.
Another option is to hire a private attorney. Your attorney can take your case directly to court, where it will be heard by a judge who can ask your ex to appear and explain the reasons for non-payment. Depending on your ex’s level of cooperation and the circumstances regarding nonpayment, a judge can take many different actions to ensure that child support gets paid. These possible court actions include garnishing your ex’s wages, intercepting their tax refunds, suspending their professional licenses, holding them in contempt of court and, in extreme cases, fines and jail time.
What You Should Not Do When Child Support is Not Getting Paid
Many parents feel as though a halt in child support payments should justify a halt in parenting time. After all, if a parent is unwilling to financially support his or her children, why should he or she have access to them? But that is not the way Illinois law works, and you can get in just as much trouble for preventing your child from seeing her other parent as the other parent could get in for not paying child support.
Parenting time and parental responsibilities are handled separately from child support, and while your child’s other parent might be making poor choices about their finances, your child’s relationship–and, therefore, your child–should not suffer as a result. If your ex only misses a couple of payments, you might want to consider working with them outside of court to see why they missed payments and how quickly they can catch up. But if missing payments is a consistent issue, or has gone on for more than a couple of months, it would not be a good idea to wait any longer to address the situation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Hillside, IL Child Support Lawyer
Problems involving child support can quickly escalate into a crisis when you depend on those payments in taking care of your children. If your child’s other parent has stopped making their court-ordered child support payments, or if you never had a court order for payments to begin with, contact a skilled Oak Park child support attorney right away. At [[title]], we are highly experienced in working with many different child support issues, and we will do whatever we can to help you. Call [[phone]] today.