Over the past several decades, it has become Illinois has provided ever more tools to help enforce child support obligation. Illinois law has significant penalties for nonpayment including:
- Civil contempt;
- Criminal offenses,
- Suspension of driver’s licenses,
- Suspending hunting and fishing licenses,
- Tax refund interception
- Obtaining a judgment for mandatory interest on non-paid support.
What happens if I don’t pay my court ordered child support?
Your ex-spouse has several remedies when you do not pay child support. One can be held in contempt for non-payment. Thus, the law provides that after a finding of contempt, the parent can be:
(1) placed on probation with such conditions of probation as the [c]ourt deems advisable;
(2) sentenced to periodic imprisonment for a period not to exceed 6 months; provided, however, that the court may permit the parent to be released for periods of time during the day or night to:
(A) work; or
(B) conduct a business or other self-employed occupation.
The court often does not send you straight to jail (including work-release, etc.). Instead, the law allows a short period of time to purge yourself of the contempt by payment.
The amount you are ordered to pay (the purge amount) should be in keeping with your ability to pay. Sometimes, however, the court will send you straight to jail, but with a provision that you may gain your release by making payment in an amount the judge believes you are capable of making.
Child Support Arrearage Collected out of Assets
The child’s “custodian” is entitled to obtain a judgment against you, the same as a creditor can for money you owe. The judgment can be enforced against real estate and any other asset you own, such as a car, bank accounts, stock etc. Your wages and bank accounts are also subject to garnishment for any child support arrearage judgment.
Non-payment of Child Support is a Crime
You may be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor if your non-payment continues for more than six months, or is more than $5,000, and if the non-payment was willful and without lawful excuse.
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If the amount exceeds $20,000, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison.
Driver’s License in Jeopardy for Non-payment
Not only a driver’s license, but also professional licensing, such as a license to practice law or medicine, can be suspended on account of an arrearage in child support.
Moving out of State to Avoid Child Support
You cannot just move to another state to avoid paying my child support. All states have adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act to allow one state to enforce and collect on the support orders of another state. If you move, they will find you.
Why are the rules so strict?
Having a family is a serious obligation.
The government seeks to protect the interests of your family. The federal and state governments are concerned with “deadbeat dads and moms” who can pay but will not. The welfare of children is a top priority for the government.