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Failure to support a spouse or child in Illinois

Those who willfully fail to provide support for their spouse or child may be guilty of failure to support. The law defines failure to support as leaving the state to evade a support order. An individual may also be guilty of failure to support if support payments have not been made in the last six months and the amount of past due support is $5,000 or more.

Anyone who has not made payments in the past year and is more than $20,000 behind in payments may also be violating the support statute. However, this may only be true if the court determines that an individual who did not pay had the ability to do so. Those who fail to pay despite having the means to do so could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony.

Fines may range from $1,000 to $25,000 a year depending on the amount owed and the length of time that support has gone unpaid. In addition to a fine, restitution may also be ordered to make up for any unpaid support. When payments are made, they are first applied to current support, then to back support and then to any fines imposed by the court.

Those who are not making payments as laid out in a child support order may face fines or other penalties. However, an attorney may be able to convince a judge that changing a support order is justified. In some cases, it may be possible for an attorney to meet with both parents to arrange a new payment plan without the need for a court order. If both sides agree to a new support plan, a judge will generally approve of that plan.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "Illinois Compiled Statutes", December 30, 2014

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