Illinois made its child support system more equitable when it started using an income shares model to determine payments. With the model, each parent pays a share of the total child-related expenses that is proportionate to their comparative incomes. Still, some parents do not pay their mandated child support, leaving the other parent with a disproportionate financial burden. As a parent, you have legal means of enforcing your child support agreement. A court or state agency can seize the money from your co-parent or punish him or her for not complying.
You can ask the Illinois Department of Child Support Services to enforce your child support agreement if the state processes your child support payments. The DCSS will investigate your claim to confirm that your co-parent is not making the required child support payments. The DCSS has several ways of enforcing child support orders, including:
- Garnishing your co-parent’s wages or bank accounts;
- Taking his or her federal and state income tax refunds;
- Placing a lien on his or her property;
- Suspending or revoking his or her driver’s license;
- Denying his or her passport; or
- Requesting criminal prosecution because your co-parent is in contempt of a court order.
The DCSS will decide which mechanism to use based on how much your co-parent owes and whether he or she has a history of missing payments.
You can take your case directly to court by filing a rule to show cause claiming that your co-parent is in contempt of the court order for child support payments. You will need to present a copy of your child support order and documentation of how much money your co-parent owes and how long he or she has failed to make payments. The court will order your co-parent to appear and explain why he or she is not in compliance with the child support order. Parents who are not paying child support often argue that they cannot afford to make the payments because:
- Their financial circumstances have changed; or
- The child support order requires them to pay an unfair amount.
The court can threaten asset seizure or jail time if your co-parent continues to violate the court order. Even if your co-parent legitimately cannot afford the child support payments, he or she should have filed to modify the child support order instead of not paying.
Course of Action
You should consult an attorney when your co-parent is not making child support payments. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can advise you on how you can enforce the payments. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.