When an Illinois Court imposes a child support obligation, that order becomes an enforceable judgment against the paying party. As a result, the failure to pay it may result in a number of penalties with varying severity.
Contempt: Most commonly, the non-payment may result in a finding of contempt of court, wherein that contempt may be “purged” by the payment of the delinquent support. Failure to purge may result in penalties, fines, and jail time.
Interest: Illinois imposes nine (9) percent interest on any child support obligation which remains unpaid as of the end of each month. Since each monthly support payment is considered a separate “judgment,” the court must calculate interest separately for every missed payment.
Wage Garnishment: The Division of Child Support Services has the ability to contact a paying party’s employer and have an appropriate amount from the balance owed deducted from their wages.
Driver’s License Suspension: If a paying party is more than 90 days behind on his or her child support payments, a court may enter an order suspending their driver’s license.
Discretionary Collections: A number of other remedies to collect delinquent support may be utilized, including seizing tax refunds, seizing bank accounts, and placing liens on property.
Criminal Charges: The failure to pay child support may result in a charge of a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year of jail time. Subsequent offenses thereafter relating to non-payment of child support under certain circumstances may result in a charge of a Class 4 Felony, which is punishable by one to three years in jail.
Each case presents a unique set of circumstances where differing remedies are appropriate. Payors of support should be proactive in consulting with counsel to seek a modification or abatement of their obligations when their financial circumstances change. Support recipients owed delinquent support should consult with counsel to determine the best strategy to enforce their rights with these remedies in mind.
Michael D. Sevin, Partner
For more information on Mr. Sevin, please visit: https://www.beermannlaw.com/team/michael-d-sevin/.