How Long Do I Have to Keep Paying Child Support Arrears?

Both parents have an obligation to financially support their child, and typically the noncustodial parent will pay the custodial parent child support in Illinois. However, there are times when a noncustodial parent falls behind in their payments, known as being in arrears. At Gordon & Perlut, Attorneys at Law our Chicago child support lawyers are here to assist with your child support arrears problems or any other issue that may arise in your child support case. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Is There a Time Limit on Arrears?

In Illinois, there is no statute of limitations on collecting child support that is in arrears. This includes after the child turns eighteen years old or surpasses the age for ending child support payments, so a noncustodial parent cannot “run out the clock” to avoid paying what they owe in child support.

In addition, Illinois child support law allows for the custodial parent to collect a high rate of interest on all child support owed in arrears, so a parent that falls behind may end up owing even more than just the support payments.

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support

If a noncustodial parent fails to pay child support, there are many options available to the custodial parent for collection. A wage garnishment order can be issued that requires the noncustodial parent’s employer to withhold funds from each paycheck and send it to the custodial parent for support. Sheriff’s sales and liens may also be applied to the noncustodial parent’s real estate and personal property to pay off arrearages, and professional licenses can be suspended or revoked as a penalty for nonpayment.

Parents who owe more than $5,000 in unpaid child support or who have been delinquent for more than six months may also face more significant penalties. These parents may be tried criminally for a misdemeanor offense, and if the amount owed is more than $20,000 it can be tried as a felony offense. However, this is rare and most child support arrears case are addressed in civil court.

What Can I Do to Compel Payment?

If you are a custodial parent, there are a few different options to try and compel payment of child support that is in arrears. The first option is to go to the Division of Child Support Services within the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services if your child support agreement, either temporary or permanent, has been approved by the court. If there is no official child support order in place, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Chicago child support attorney, as your legal options are limited until the court approves a child support order. The only thing that you should not do is withhold visitation from the noncustodial parent, as child support and custody are considered two distinct issues under the law.

Talk to Our Chicago Child Support Lawyers

If you have more questions about child support in arrears, call a Chicago child support lawyer at Gordon & Perlut, Attorneys at Law today to schedule a consultation.