Both parents have financial obligations to their children. The non-custodial parent is legally required to continue supporting their children with the court-appointed amount of child support. Failure to do so can result in wage garnishment, contempt of court, a driver’s license suspension, and a possible criminal conviction. To avoid these penalties, you must continue to pay what is owed. It can also be beneficial to bring in an experienced divorce attorney to help modify court-ordered child support if you are having difficulties making timely payments.
What is Wage Garnishment?
An employer can withhold a certain amount of your earnings to pay back child support. Doing this would require the owed parent to enter a request through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The employer must withhold the requested amount or be liable for the accumulated amount that should have been withheld.
In rare circumstances, individuals who do not have jobs and owe child support can have their bank accounts garnished. You will receive a notice from the state that a garnishment will occur. It is possible to fight this transaction if you prove the levy will create undue hardship. You may also be able to set up smaller payments for what is owed to avoid more extensive measures.
What Does Contempt of Court Mean?
Disobeying a court’s ruling, such as refusing to pay court-ordered child support, is considered contempt. By refusing to pay what is owed, you are openly defying or opposing the court, which could see charges lobbied against you. Either parent who fails to adhere to the Illinois child support guidelines can face:
- Court-ordered probationary conditions
- A sentence of no more than six months imprisonment where a parent may be eligible for periodic release to earn money; the money earned in this way can be used partly or entirely for child support still owed.
A parent who is 90 days behind on child support can also have their Illinois driver’s license suspended until the court deems it appropriate to return the privileges. The court may provide that parent with a family financial responsibility driving permit, allowing limited driving privileges for work and medical needs.
What if I Am Criminally Convicted?
Failure to pay child support can find a parent facing a Class A misdemeanor that could see them in prison for up to one year. A severe criminal conviction usually presents itself when a parent fails to pay child support on multiple occasions, has been unable to pay child support in over six months, chooses to leave the state with the intention of not paying child support, or owes a substantial amount (over $10,000) of unpaid child support. This parent is looking at a possible Class 4 felony charge, which carries a penalty prison sentence of up to three years.
Contact a DuPage County, IL, Child Support Attorney
Parents are obligated to support their children, no matter how they feel about the divorce or the amount the court orders them to pay. When you feel overwhelmed by child support payments, an experienced Wheaton, IL child support lawyer can help. The [[title]] is ready to assist and guide you on what you can do to maintain your child support obligations. Contact the office at [[phone]] for a free consultation where we can formulate a financial plan for the future.