Paying child support is an obligation that parents need to take very seriously. This money allows a custodial parent to provide for a child and also establishes a link between non-custodial parent and child, regardless of whether that parent also has custody or visitation rights.
Despite the fact that parents typically realize how crucial this support is, there are situations in which a parent can’t or won’t make payments in full and on time. If you are in a position where you are at risk of non-payment or have already missed child support payments, you need to act quickly to protect your parental rights and avoid further penalties.
The further you get behind in payments, the more difficult it can be to get back on track. In order to resolve the situation sooner, rather than later, you can first speak with the other parent as soon as a payment is missed or about to be missed. In some cases, there is a short-term agreement that can be reached to address the situation.
If non-payment continues, the courts can get involved. In accordance with Illinois child support laws, if you are delinquent for 90 days, the court can suspend your driver’s license until you get back in compliance.
You can also face requirements to complete community service or a work alternative program. Should problems persist, you may have your wages garnished and face jail time for contempt of court. During this time, unpaid support as well as interest will continue to accrue.
To minimize or avoid these penalties, you can discuss your legal options with an attorney. In some cases, you can seek modification to support orders or work out a temporary plan that allows you get back on track. Doing so before matters get worse can help protect you, your finances and your child.