How Do I Collect Child Support If My Ex Moved Out Of State?

How Do I Collect Child Support if My Ex Moved Out of State?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Child support is necessary to ensure a child has all of the necessities and basic needs he/she needs – even after parents split up or get divorced. Given how important this kind of financial support is to a child’s well-being, it can be extremely frustrating and demoralizing when one of the parents will not pay his or her portion of the child support obligation.

While there are numerous steps a Skokie area child support lawyer can discuss with you when it comes to child support collection, we know that the process can feel even more daunting when you have not been able to contact your ex and when that ex lives in another state.

What do you need to know about collecting child support from a parent who lives in another state and has not paid his or her portion of the child support obligation?

Moving to Another State Does Not End the Child Support Obligation 

First, it is critical to know that your ex is not simply relieved from his or her obligation to pay child support as a result of moving outside the state of Illinois. Regardless of whether your ex lives in Illinois at the time of the child support order issued in Illinois or not, and regardless of whether your ex remains in the state of Illinois or moves to another state, the child support order is still a court order that applies to both parents

While it may be possible for a parent who moves out of state to transfer the child support case to another state, a non-paying parent who moves out of state is not relieved of the child support obligation simply by crossing state lines.

To be sure, according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), either parent can ask an Illinois court to enforce a child support order, which often results in the non-paying parent being held in contempt. As the IMDMA explains, “[f]ailure of either parent to comply with an order to pay support shall be punishable as in other cases of contempt,” and various penalties may apply. Those penalties can include probation and periodic imprisonment.

Illinois Still Has Jurisdiction Over the Child Support Case

You should know that Illinois will still have jurisdiction over your child support case when your child support order is issued in Illinois. As such, an Illinois court can take steps against your ex, such as holding your ex in contempt, even if your ex has moved to another state.

Taking Steps to Enforce Your Child Support Order

Recognizing that an Illinois court can still handle an enforcement action to collect child support from an out-of-state non-paying parent, you should learn about the steps you must take in order to initiate an enforcement action.

Typically, the first step in an Illinois child support enforcement case is to work with your lawyer to file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause, which is a form through which you will ask the court to enforce the child support order. The court has the authority to hold the non-paying parent in contempt and to take other actions in order to enforce the child support order, which can include garnishment of wages to ensure that your child receives the support she or he needs.

In situations where the non-paying parent has moved out of state and cannot be found, you may be able to seek assistance from the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) to locate an out-of-state parent who has not paid child support. Once the parent has been located, an Illinois court can take steps toward enforcement of the child support order.

Contact Our Illinois Child Support Attorneys 

Our Illinois child support lawyers are here to help with your collections case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC for more information and to get started.