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Penalties for not paying child support in Illinois


Child support orders are fairly common in Illinois. If a child is born out of wedlock or the parents are divorced most likely there is a child support order in place. These orders are designed to ensure the child's needs are being met by both parents and not just the custodial parent. For many children this child support is essential for their upbringing. However, not all parents pay their child support.

In order to combat this problem, in Illinois there are criminal penalties for failure to pay child support. If a parent has not paid child support for at least six months, owes at least $5,000 for past child support or leaves the state to avoid paying child support, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. The parent could be sent to jail and fined additional amounts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on how much they owe and how long it has been since they paid child support.

The person can also be found to be in contempt of court for violating a child support order. In addition, the court can enter an order for support which is deemed to be a series of judgments against the nonpaying parent. These judgments can be enforced like any other judgments, meaning liens can be placed on property and bank accounts can be garnished. The parent could also be subject to income withholding from his or her paycheck.

These penalties can be harsh, so if you are no longer able to pay your child support obligation you may want to request modification of the current order. The court will only modify the order if certain criteria are met, however. Experienced attorneys can help guide you through the process.

Source: 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 16/15, 16/20, accessed November 18, 2014

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