Single parents in Illinois face many challenges. Raising a child on only one income often results in crippling financial struggles. Child support can make a huge difference, enabling a single parent to adequately provide for their child. However, if the other parent stops paying ordered child support, this can cause many problems, leaving the parent expecting the payments wondering what can be done.
Always keep records of payments you receive
Having detailed records is important when trying to enforce a child support order. Child support payments are either made through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit, through the local clerk of court’s office or privately between parents.
No matter how the payments are made, the parent receiving child support should keep their own records of how much they received, and when. Records from the State Disbursement Unit or clerk of court’s office can typically be obtained and reviewed to make sure they match with personal records.
After confirming any missed from the other parent, there are a couple of available options for collecting the payments. If the other parent is employed, a notice to withhold income may be filed and served on the other parent and their employer. The notice to withhold must state the time periods of any missed payments and exactly how much is currently owed. The payments will then be taken out of the other parent’s paychecks.
Another option is to file a rule to show cause with the county court the child support order is issued through and ask a judge to find the other parent in contempt of court. A judge can issue a new order stating the other parent must pay a certain amount within a specific time, and if the amount is not paid, jail time could potentially be ordered.
Yes, parents can go to jail for not paying child support
Although jail time can be a major deterrent for parents avoiding a child support order, it may not be a desirable penalty. A parent in jail typically is not working and runs a greater risk of falling behind on payments.
The child support process can be confusing and complex, especially when it involves making sure the other parent pays their court ordered amount. A mistake in the enforcement process could mean delays or missing out on payments, which is why having professional help and guidance is essential.