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What can you do when your former spouse owes you child support?

| Dec 10, 2020 | Divorce |

During your divorce, your former spouse might have bristled at the prospect of paying child support. Yet, once your divorce finalized, you likely assumed that they would be responsible and meet their monthly obligation. Extricating it from them, though, may feel like pulling teeth, and they may be delinquent on their payments. Because child support is crucial to ensuring your children’s well-being, you must understand your options for enforcing your support order.

Enforcing your child support order

In Illinois, most child support payments are withheld from the paying parent’s paycheck. During your divorce, you likely filed a Notice to Withhold Income for Support to ensure this happened. If you have not received your court-ordered support, you must send your former spouse’s employer a new notice to withhold their arrearage from their paychecks. This notice must detail the amount of support owed and the time frame in in which it went unpaid.

The state could also use other methods to satisfy your former spouse’s arrearage. These may include:

  • Ordering the garnishment of their state and federal tax refunds
  • Ordering the revocation of their driver’s license or professional licenses
  • Ordering the revocation of their passport or the denial of their pending passport application
  • Ordering the seizure of their bank account
  • Placing a lien on their property
  • Submitting their delinquency to credit reporting agencies

The penalties for failing to pay child support

If your former spouse continues to evade their child support obligation, you can request that the court hold them in contempt. If the court rules they have no good reason for their delinquency, they could face serious consequences. These may include probation or up to six months imprisonment with work release. Likely, the court will also order the garnishment of your former spouse’s wages, in part or in full, to satisfy their delinquent child support payments.

The state could also order prosecution against your spouse for failing to pay child support. Depending on the amount they owe, their offense could qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony. While their consequences will depend on their arrearage, they could face imprisonment, pay a substantial fine or both.

While collect overdue child support can feel impossible, you have ways to enforce its payment. A family law attorney can help you weigh your options for receiving the support owed to you.