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Enforcing child support gets serious in Illinois

Child support orders are determined based upon a parent's ability to pay, a child's needs and several other factors. There are some instances when a spouse obligated to pay under the agreement either is unable to pay and fails to seek a modification or chooses not to pay at all.

When called an agreement to pay child support, it might not seem that serious. However, it is important to remember that these support agreements are court-ordered, legally enforceable documents. At times, the penalties for failure to comply can be very serious as three parents in Illinois recently discovered.

The Winnebago County State's Attorney reported this past week that three parents were facing serious fines and possibly jail time for their failure to pay. The three parents were indicted in court on June 20, 2013 for failure to pay support. The offense was chargeable under the Non Support Punishment Act and is considered a class 4 felony.

What are the penalties that these parents could face? Illinois law allows the court to sentence them to anywhere from one to three years in prison. The parents could also each face a fine of $25,000 and possible greater costs for restitution.

What led to the charges? For two of the parents, it was an outstanding balance of $27,986.60 and $28,169.57. While those two balances may seem likely to lead to penalties, the third parent owed $5,525.

The role of a family law attorney doesn't stop when a divorce is finalized or a custody agreement is determined. Whether you are a parent who can no longer afford a support order and want to seek a modification to avoid trouble or a parent who needs to enforce an order, an attorney is there to help.

Source: Rockford Register Star, "Parents who owe child support are warned to pay up or else," June 20, 2013

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