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Will I Go to Jail If I Cannot Make My Child Support Payments in Illinois? 

Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1061312264.jpg Child support is an issue that, for many parents, is fraught with complications and tension. Even if a parent intends to fully meet their legal obligation to financially provide for their child, the laws can be hard to understand, and the consequences for not following the laws can be severe. Job loss, economic downturns, and unexpected expenses can make paying child support difficult, and sometimes parents have to make hard choices. 

Here is a brief overview of the consequences of not paying child support in Illinois. The best way to avoid the negative impacts of missing child support payments is to ensure you understand Illinois child support laws and have the support of an experienced child support attorney from whom you can get help. 

Consequences For Not Paying Child Support in Illinois

The punishment for failing to make court-ordered child support payments can vary depending on why the child support is late, how long payments have been missed, and how much money is owed. Some common consequences of not paying child support include: 

  • Contempt of court - When a parent fails to abide by any part of their divorce decree or parenting agreement, including the child support order, they may be held in contempt of court. This can trigger fines, jail time, or probation. 

  • Wage or tax return garnishment - Parents can have child support taken directly out of their wages, tax returns, gambling winnings, or any other source of income. 

  • License suspension - When a parent is more than 90 days late on child support payments, they can have their driver’s license suspended. 

  • Criminal charges - In more serious cases where a lot of money is owed or payments have been owed over a long period of time, a parent can face criminal charges. These can range from Class A misdemeanors for first-time offenses to Class 4 felonies for repeat offenders, those who leave the state to avoid paying child support, or those who owe more than $10,000.  Conviction may involve jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. 

How Are Child Support Payments Enforced? 

When a parent stops meeting their child support obligations, the parent receiving payments can go to the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), which is a state agency responsible for helping parents obtain child support, and ask for help enforcing the order. However, DCSS is often overburdened, and many parents have to wait months before DCSS can or will take action. 

Another way to enforce child support payments is to work with the Illinois Court system with the help of an attorney. This method often yields faster, more effective results. Judges can order the paying parent to appear before them and explain why he or she is not making child support payments. Failure to attend the hearing may result in an arrest. Judges often have some sympathy for difficult circumstances,  and a parent who has simply fallen on hard times may be given more flexibility to catch up on payments. 

Call an Arlington Heights Child Support Modification Lawyer

If you are worried that you will not be able to make your child support payments, do not wait until things get worse. Get help from an experienced team of Arlington Heights child support attorneys at A. Traub & Associates. We can help you understand your options and seek a modification if necessary. Call us today at 847-749-4182 to learn more. 




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