What Are My Options If My Ex Refuses to Pay Child Support?

What Are My Options if My Ex Refuses to Pay Child Support?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Child support is essential for any child’s well-being, and it is designed to provide for a child’s needs even if the parents are no longer together. Under Illinois law, child support is calculated according to the income shares model.

What this means is that, when the court determines each parent’s child support obligation, it will determine an overall child support obligation as if the parents were not separated and will apportion that total obligation based on the income of each parent, the total number of overnights with the child, and other relevant factors.

To clarify, the court will combine the incomes of both parents and will use that figure to determine a total support obligation based on the Illinois guidelines and the number of children in need of support. Then, each parent will be responsible for a portion of that total obligation.

When both parents provide their portion of the child support obligation, the income shares model works well. However, there are many situations in which one of the parents does not provide his or her portion of the child support obligation and may in fact actively refuse to pay child support. What can you do if your ex refuses to pay child support? The following options may be available to you.

Ask the Court to Enforce the Child Support Order

If you have an existing child support order and your ex refuses to pay, you can ask the court to enforce that child support order. You should remember that a child support order is a court order, and your ex is legally obligated to pay child support according to the terms of the order. We will explain below some of the enforcement mechanisms that the court might be able to use to enforce the child support order and to get you the money you need to provide for your children.

If you do not have a child support order but you share minor children with your ex and your ex refuses to pay child support, your first step should be to contact a Chicago child support lawyer who can help you to move forward with a child support case to seek a child support order.

Ask The Court To Withhold Their Income for Support

Most immediately, the court can require your ex’s employer to withhold income from your ex’s paycheck in order to pay child support (including unpaid child support that is owed).

Hold Your Ex in Contempt

Since a child support order is a court order, one option the court may use if your ex will not abide by the terms of that support order is to hold your ex in contempt. According to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act, a person can be held in contempt if one of the following is true:

  • Willfully refuses to pay a support obligation and has the ability to pay
  • Leaves the state of Illinois with the intention of avoiding a support obligation

Seek Advice from a Chicago Child Support Lawyer

If you need assistance with child support collections, one of our experienced Chicago child support attorneys can help you with your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to learn more about our services.