Illinois parents who are not receiving child support because the other parent has left the state in order to avoid paying may be unaware there is a federal law that could help them collect what they are owed. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a 1998 law that is specifically designed to punish parents who have traveled out of the state to avoid paying child support.
Two other provisions must be in place to use the DPPA. The parent must owe over $5,000 and must not have paid support for over a year, or the parent must owe more than $10,000 and must not have paid support in more than two years.
For a first offense, a parent could spend up to six months incarcerated and for a second offense up to two years. They may also be required to pay back support. The parent can file a DPPA case in court in the state of residence or in any federal court.
A parent who is considering divorce should talk with an attorney about how finances will be affected by support and who may get child custody. If the divorce is somewhat amicable, the parents might negotiate shared custody. They might also agree that it is best for one parent to have primary physical custody since one is the primary caregiver and the other works long hours. Child support is usually paid to the custodial parent and is calculated using a formula. If one parent fails to pay support but cannot be pursued for the support using the DPPA, there are a number of other options. A parent may want to speak to an attorney to learn more about this issue.