Failure to Pay Child Support

Chicago Attorneys Handling a Failure to Pay Child Support

Determined Cook County child support attorneys serving Skokie and Chicago

Although there has been a great deal of press over the past few years about “deadbeats” and their failure to pay child support, the problem of child support enforcement continues in Illinois and nationwide. Fortunately, parents who are owed child support that has not been paid have a variety of tools at their disposal to obtain the needed support that is already owed. For parents who are behind in their support, it is also important to understand these tools that can be used. The Skokie divorce lawyers of Gordon & Perlut, LLC can help you pursue the child support your children deserve.

Child Support Enforcement

The most common child support enforcement proceeding against a parent who fails to pay child support is a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. In this petition, parents who are owed child support request that the “obligors” show the court why they should not be held in contempt for their failure to pay. Assuming that the parent cannot show any valid reason for not paying child support, the courts generally enter an order of contempt. The contempt of court can be purged (removed) if the obligor makes accelerated child support payments. The court also has the child support enforcement powers to award attorney fees, and most courts are happy to oblige. However, appeals are a possibility as part of the judicial process.

Not many defenses exist for an obligor to defend against nonpayment of child support. If obligors become unemployed, it is their responsibility to file a motion with the court to reduce their child support obligation until they find new employment. Another common problem is when an obligor makes cash child support payments, and there is no record of these payments. Because it is the obligation of the parents who pay child support to prove that they have made the payments, it is insufficient to argue that the payments were made in cash (unless the other parent acknowledges that the payments were made).

When a court orders an obligor to make payments on past-due child support, they often order a large down payment on the balance due within a short period of time and an accelerated payment schedule on the balance. For many parents owed child support, this can be unsatisfactory and frustrating. In some cases, tens of thousands of dollars can be owed and a more immediate payment of the total amount due is desired. However, even if a court does not order a complete immediate repayment on the total amount due, parents owed the obligation of support should make sure their attorney obtains a judgment for any amounts to be repaid in the future. A Skokie divorce lawyer has a wide array of legal mechanisms that can be used to enforce child support adherence.

What If You Owe Child Support and Are Unemployed?

What about the parent who owes an obligation of support and is unemployed? Although these can be difficult situations, the individuals should make sure they: (a) have the court order that the obligor maintains a job diary, and this should be reviewed meticulously at the next court date with the judge, (b) order the obligor to participate in a government-sponsored job placement service and (c) have that parent complete a financial disclosure statement to be reviewed by the court and the attorneys involved. It is often interesting to see how unemployed persons manage to survive for months on end when they are allegedly not working at any job.

Last, an underused child support enforcement mechanism that was added to our statute allows the court to suspend an obligor’s driver’s license if there is a child support arrearage in excess of 90 days of support. We have found that this is the most useful tactic, in that it tends to compel obligors to “work a little harder” to find the money needed to pay off the child support arrears.

Contact an experienced Skokie divorce lawyer to help you

For more information about options to obtain child support for your children, contact Chicago divorce attorney M. Scott Gordon online or at 847.329.0101 or 312.360.0250. Our firm serves Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Northbrook, Niles, Glenview, and the Cook County area.

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