The Importance of Paying Illinois Child Support
DuPage County Child Support Attorneys
If you are one of the millions of Americans that have gone or are going through a divorce with children, you are probably very familiar with the term child support. Child Support is a court-ordered payment to be made from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child following a divorce or separation. If you have been ordered to pay child support, timely, complete payment is essential.
Ordering Child Support
Just because you have a child does not mean that child support will become part of your divorce settlement. If child support is ordered, the amount will be determined by the child’s needs, both the custodial and non-custodial parent’s income, number of children, and any unique circumstances that may be present.
Following an update to the Illinois child support law which went into effect in 2017, the guidelines determining the amount of child support payments from a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent have changed. The law now considers both parents’ net incomes, as well as each parent’s respective amount of parenting time and parental responsibility.
Child support payments may be more or less than the prescribed guidelines if certain unique circumstances exist. Some of these unique circumstances include:
- Medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance;
- Special educational needs;
- Child care expenses;
- Joint custody arrangements;
- High income of non-custodial parent;
- Non-custodial parent debt;
- Income of custodial parent’s current spouse;
- Property division; and
- Significant income of child (trust fund, inheritance, etc.).
Any of these or any other similar circumstances may cause a deviation from the guidelines. Regardless of the situation, the objective of the courts is to act with the child’s best interest in mind. The court will determine what circumstances warrant deviation from the guidelines in order to serve the best interests of the child.
Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support
Child support payments are ordered by the courts but paid through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The SDU can provide information to parents regarding how much child support is owed, when payments are due, and if the payments are in arrears (late). If you are the individual paying, it is up to you to ensure that your payments are complete and up to date. If you are the custodial parent receiving the child support payments for the benefit of your child, you have obligations too. If the payor fails to pay the custodial parent, the courts do not automatically step in. It is up to the payee (the custodial parent, or the person receiving the child support for the benefit of the child) to notify the court of the payment delinquency and seek enforcement of the previously entered court order.
Failing to make payments on time or at all can have severe consequences. Initial failure to pay may result in a garnishment of your work wages. A wage deduction order can be entered against you, requiring your employer to pay the child support directly from your paycheck. This intervention can be embarrassing, costly, and unnecessary if you can try to figure out other ways to pay (on time).
Other remedies include crediting tax refunds directly toward child support payments, placing liens on your personal or real property, or holding you in contempt of court, which can lead to jail time. Custodial parents trying to collect unpaid child support may also utilize collection agencies and/or request the non-custodial parent to pay their attorney’s fees. Failure to pay child support may also result in criminal prosecution at either the state or federal level.
If a non-custodial parent is having trouble making their payments on time, it is critical to address this issue before the payments are in arrears and the court needs to get involved. Child support payments can be modified. If one of the parents demonstrates a “substantial change in circumstances,” the payment plan may be altered. Alternatively, some couples may be able to amicably arrange payment plans without court intervention.
Wheaton, IL Child Support Lawyers
If you or anyone you know is going through a divorce with children, child support issues will almost certainly arise. Being aware of your rights and responsibilities whether you are the payor or the recipient of child support benefits can save time, money, and hassle. Regardless of whether you already have a divorce settlement or if you are trying to work out a reasonable child support payment plan with your ex-spouse, hiring an experienced Wheaton child support attorney will help the process significantly.
At Abear Law Offices, we understand how difficult, complicated, financially burdensome, and emotionally draining going through a divorce can be, particularly when your children are involved. If you have any questions about a pending divorce, payment or receipt of child support, or any other family law issue, contact one of our five convenient Chicago-area offices to learn more about your legal rights today. Call (630) 904-3033 or fill out the online contact form to schedule an initial consultation today.