How Do I Collect Child Support if My Ex Leaves the Country?

How Do I Collect Child Support if My Ex is Leaves the Country?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

For parents who are divorced, or unmarried, court-ordered child support payments help to ensure your child is provided for and has what they need. A court order also protects you in the event support is not paid, entitling you to enforcement efforts for past due and current amounts owed. A common question concerns how to collect child support if the other parent is not from the U.S. or leaves the country. Our child support lawyers in Chicago explain the options that are available.

The Obligation to Pay Child Support in Illinois

Parents are required to financially support their children. Under the Illinois child support Statutes, a child support order can be issued, requiring a non-custodial parent to pay a certain amount based on:

  • Your combined incomes.
  • The child’s specific needs.
  • The manner of living the child would enjoy if their parents lived together.
  • Any other specific circumstances surrounding the case.

In addition to making sure you get the maximum amount of child support, you are entitled to, a court order for support can help ensure outstanding amounts are paid. Through the Illinois Department of Health and Financial Services (IHFS), collections actions available include:

  • Garnishment of the non-paying parent’s wages.
  • Seizure of assets in bank accounts.
  • Liens on personal property owned.
  • Seizure of tax refunds, lottery winnings, and certain types of government benefits.

Child support orders are valid across state lines and can easily be enforced in other cities and states across the United States, but what happens when the non-paying parent leaves the country? Seizure of benefits and money in U.S. accounts is still possible, as are liens of any property they still have in their name. For garnishment of wages earned in another country or seizure of overseas accounts, you will need to enlist the help of federal programs that are in place.

Tracking Down Non-Paying Parents in Other Countries

Parents who are in the country on a visa and U.S. citizens otherwise looking to evade responsibility for child support payments may flee the country. While this presents unique challenges in terms of obtaining and fulfilling an Illinois child support order, help is available. Through the U.S. Office of Health and Human Services, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) assists in obtaining child support in international cases. Services they provide include:

  • Locating a missing parent who has fled to another country.
  • Establishing paternity as needed.
  • Establishing court-ordered child support in the country where the other parent currently resides.
  • Collecting current child support and any past due amounts owed in that country, through wage garnishment or other means.
  • Making any changes or modifications in the child support order as required.

Get Our Child Support Lawyers in Chicago on Your Side

Collecting child support when a parent flees the country is challenging but you can count on Gordon & Perlut, LLC. to provide the trusted legal guidance you need. To get our legal team on your side, call or contact our child support lawyers in Chicago and request a consultation today.