If you are a divorced parent, chances are you and your former spouse have a child support agreement in place as part of your divorce settlement. When you have a child support agreement, your spouse is required to pay you a specified amount of money every month, every week, or according to another schedule drafted by the court, until your child becomes an adult. This is to help you cover the costs that come with raising a child such as groceries, clothing, shelter, academic support, and extracurricular activities.
When a parent fails to make his or her child support payments, the child is the one who suffers. Custodial parents might find themselves stressed or feeling overwhelmed when they don't receive the financial support their former partner agreed to pay. Failing to pay child support is a violation of a court order and can carry civil and criminal penalties under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act. If your spouse is routinely late with child support payments or has not made a payment in months, you have the right to get the court involved to get the money your child deserves.
The First Missed Payment
Before going to the court, talk to your former spouse. He or she might be going through a difficult time financially and just need some time to catch up on the payments. The keys to successfully co-parenting your child are communication and understanding. Give your former spouse the chance to explain him or herself and see if you can work out a solution where he or she pays what he or she can at the time. If he or she is truly facing financial hardship, suggest that he or she seek a child support modification.
When Your Former Spouse is Habitually Negligent
If your former spouse is habitually negligent with his or her child support payments, you can work with the court to get the support money for your child. If the court gets involved with your child support case, there may be legal consequences for your former partner.
You may also need to seek help from the Illinois Department of Child Support Services. To obtain the owed child support, the department may take any of the following actions against your former spouse:
- Hire a private collection agency to obtain the money;
- Contact the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations and have his or her vocational or professional licenses suspended;
- Seize any of his or her federal or state tax returns;
- Contact the Illinois Comptroller to submit reports of the negligence to credit bureaus;
- Contact the United States State Department and have his or her passport requests denied;
- Open a criminal investigation against him or her;
- Garnish his or her bank accounts or paychecks; or
- Obtain a lien against his or her property.
Family Attorneys in DuPage County
If your former partner has not made his or her required child support payments and you want to seek the money your child needs, contact the DuPage County family law attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at 630-472-9700 to discuss your circumstances with us and work out the best way to proceed with your case. Our firm advocates for families and will work with you to make sure your family gets the support it deserves.