Not paying child support? It will cost you
Too many parents see an order to pay child support as a punishment. They think that they have to pay this money to an ex because they’ve done something wrong or because they are not a good parent. However, the truth is that child support is not a punishment: it is a way to ensure both parents are contributing to the welfare and well-being of a child.
Regardless of whether you agree with an order to pay child support, it is crucial that you comply with it or seek out legal means of challenging it. Failure to do so can lead to delinquency and with that, serious penalties.
In Illinois, there are strict laws that govern child support, including how the amounts are calculated and what measures can be used to enforce court orders.
For example, the courts can impose fines that increase as the unpaid support increases. If you don’t pay child support for two years or if you are at least $1,000 in arrears, you could be fined up to $5,000 on top of those back payments. The fines can reach as high as $25,000 in the most serious cases.
You could also be ordered to pay restitution and interest on top of these fines. The courts may also start withholding wages from your paycheck and even suspend your driver’s or professional license.
There is even the potential that you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for failure to pay child support. If convicted, you could be sentenced to jail.
Considering all the penalties that can be handed down when child support goes unpaid, it is always best to make your payments in full and on time. If, however, you are in a situation where you cannot meet these obligations due to financial hardship or if you feel the order is unfair, you can work with an attorney to request a review and modification of your support plan.