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The potential consequences of failing to pay child support

Divorcing is almost always a difficult transition, and many well-meaning parents leave a relationship under difficult circumstances. This can make the obligations of a child support agreement seem impossible to meet. In many instances, a parent will reach a point where he or she thinks nonpayment is his or her best option. While this may seem like a reasonable choice, it is a temporary solution at best. The courts have a variety of ways to enforce a child support order.

Once non-payment has been recorded, the court can exercise several options to retrieve the owed assets from the owing parent. These remedies range in severity from wage garnishment to community service to steep fines, and even jail time. Criminal punishment is possible for parents who are delinquent in payments by more than six months, or have more than $10,000 in owed back taxes.

A parent who is attempting to retrieve owed child support from a non-paying parent can work through a number of different agencies and third party organizations to seek payment. This parent may reach out to an attorney with considerable experience in family law, who may work through the Illinois Department of Child Services to obtain a child support order. If it is necessary, independent providers could then reach out to the State's Attorney to have a child support order enforced in another county, and perhaps even go to the Office of the Attorney General if it is necessary to enforce a child support order in another state.

For those who have further questions, or need help to clean up an already messy situation, an experienced family law attorney can be an excellent source of guidance. These attorneys can help you explore options for recovery while protecting your rights, and ensuring that the solutions are focused on the continued care of the child.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Illinois Child Support Enforcement," accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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