Paying child support isn’t optional. It is a required part of any divorce judgment in the state of Illinois when a marriage dissolves and involves minor children, and in any percentage matter.
However, even though it may be necessary, it can be a spot of major contention for those going through a divorce. Former spouses may resent the requirement to pay child support, or they may suddenly find themselves unemployed and unable to make their support payments. No matter the reason - paying child support is a requirement set by law.
So, what can you do if your former spouse or partner isn’t paying child support on time or at all?
Understanding Child Support
The goal of child support isn’t to penalize one parent more than another. The goal is to provide the children with the same quality of life they had prior to your marriage ending. It’s a regular payment made by one parent to another to help maintain the child’s standard of living.
All child support payments after the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act of 2016 are to be calculated using a shared income model. That means that the net income of both parents is now to be considered when arriving at a final child support amount. When determining who pays child support and how much child support is paid, the courts consider several important factors, including where the child spends most of their time, the number of children, and the amount of each parent’s assets after the divorce.
Child support is used to help pay for a child’s primary needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and living expenses. Even when parents share parenting time and responsibilities, one parent may still be required to pay child support.
When paying child support, this support can be automatically deducted from the paying parent’s paycheck at regular intervals. These payments are then sent to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit to be dispensed to the receiving parent. Parents can opt to receive their child support payments directly from the other parent; however, by doing so, they also bear the burden of ensuring that these payments are continually paid to them.
When Child Support Isn’t Paid
When an ex-spouse or former partner doesn’t maintain their required child support payments, they can be found in contempt of court. When this happens, the Illinois courts can collect that money in a number of ways, including, but not limited to:
- Wage garnishments
- Intercepting federal and state tax refunds
- Liens against property and assets
- Suspend or restrict licenses
If your former partner or spouse isn’t paying child support, your first step should be to contact them directly. Try your best to determine the reason why they’re behind on their payments and work together to arrive at a mutual agreement for getting back on track.
Unfortunately, amicably working together isn’t always possible. If you are unable to get your ex to agree to pay the child support that is owed, your next step would be to compile evidence of missed payments. Have copies of your child support order and evidence of missed payments at your disposal. This paperwork will be critical when establishing how much child support you are currently owed. If the child support is paid through the State Disbursement Unit, they will be able to provide you with evidence of all non-payment.
Once you’ve compiled evidence of missed child support payments, your next step should be to contact an experienced Barrington child support attorney immediately. Your attorney can file a petition seeking contempt sanctions for missed child support payments. Pursuant to Section 508(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act of 2016, your ex may also be responsible for your attorney fees incurred in the collection action.
With an attorney on your side, you have the best chances of getting your former partner or spouse to pay the child support that is owed to you. Unfortunately, obtaining back payments of missed child support isn’t easy without an experienced attorney on your side from the start.
Contact Our Barrington Divorce Attorneys
Caring for children can be a full-time job. When you’re divorced, you may rely on child support payments to make ends meet and provide your children with a better quality of life.
When former spouses or partners fail to make those payments, this can send your entire life into a tailspin. After all, trying to pay household and childcare expenses without child support can be next to impossible. When this occurs, you need an experienced Barrington Child Support Attorney on your side.
Call Manassa Hartman, P.C. at (866) 390-0672 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys. We are proud to serve clients at both our Crystal Lake and Barrington offices. Call today!