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Legal Options When a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support

Posted on in Family Law

kane county child support lawyerIn Illinois, just like every state in the country, there are laws that say that each parent has a duty of support owed to their child. This duty extends to providing for the “reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.” The Illinois statute defines a child as one who is under 18 years of age and any child 19 years or younger who is still attending high school.

When a marriage, civil union, or relationship ends, or paternity has been established, the court has the authority to order one parent to pay the other parent child support. Which parent pays child support depends on how the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time is established (formerly referred to as child custody). Unfortunately, not all parents adhere to these child support orders and either fail to pay according to the ordered payment schedule or refuse to pay any support at all.

In these circumstances, what are the legal options for the parent who is not receiving child support payments?

Illinois Child Support Calculations

In Illinois, child support is calculated using the income shares model. With this type of calculation formula, the court looks at both parents’ income, the number of children they have, and the percentage of parenting time each parent has. Other factors the court may use to determine support includes:

  • The child’s physical and emotional health

  • The child’s educational needs

  • The standard of living the child had when the parents were living together

  • Each parent’s financial resources and needs

Once the court determines the amount and schedule of payments, the order is in place until the child is of age or unless either party requests a modification be made. Some of the more common reasons why a parent may request a modification are:

  • The financial needs of the child have changed.

  • There has been a substantial change in financial income for either parent (job loss, new job, etc.).

  • Periodic cost-of-living review, which can be requested every three years.

Child Support Contempt

There are many reasons why a parent may have for not paying their child support, however, in the eyes of the court, none of those reasons are valid ones, given that parent always has the option to request a modification of their obligation if they have had a change in circumstances that prohibits them from complying with the court’s order.

If your child’s other parent is refusing to pay child support, you can request the court hold the parent in contempt and take steps to enforce the order. A parent held in contempt for not paying child support faces the punishment of being placed on probation or be sentenced to six months in jail. If they do receive jail time, the court will usually order the parent to participate in a work-release program and a percentage of their earnings go towards their delinquent child support amount.

Other remedies the court may use against a parent who is delinquent on child support are:

  • Wage garnishment

  • Seizure of bank accounts

  • Liens on property

  • Interception of tax refunds

  • Driver’s license suspension

  • Criminal conviction

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney Today

If you are having a difficult time getting the child support the court has ordered, the legal team at Emily Rapp at McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C. can help. Call our office today at 630-402-0185 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Geneva, IL child support lawyer and find out what legal recourse you have against the delinquent parent.


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