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What Are the Consequences for Not Paying Child Support?Child support payments are mandatory for parents who are divorced or separated from each other. Unlike with the optional spousal maintenance payments, child support is meant to help pay for the expenses related to raising the children, such as food, clothing, and healthcare. A parent who does not pay their share of child support may be depriving their children of the resources needed to grow up healthy and safe. Because of this, Illinois has a range of severe consequences for parents who do not comply with their child support order:

  1. Garnishment: If a parent does not pay child support, a court may order that the noncompliant parent’s financial assets be seized. The most common method is wage garnishment, which can be achieved by filing an Income Withholding for Support request with the parent’s employer. If wage garnishment is not an option, the court may seize funds from a bank account, intercept property tax refunds, put a lien on a property, or hire a private collection agency.
  2. Driver’s License Suspension: When a parent is more than 90 days past due on child support payments, the court may revoke the parent’s driving privileges until they have caught up on payments. It also has the authority to revoke or deny an application for a U.S. passport or professional license.
  3. Criminal Prosecution: Nonpayment of child support becomes a criminal offense in Illinois if a parent has gone more than six months without paying or owes more than $5,000. This is a Class A misdemeanor and will most likely result in a fine. However, the offense becomes a Class 4 felony if the parent flees the state to avoid payment, is more than one year late on payments, or owes more than $20,000. A Class 4 felony in Illinois is punishable by one-to-three years in prison and fines.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

If your co-parent is not paying child support, you can enforce payment by contacting the Illinois Division of Child Support Services or filing a complaint in court. If you are in danger of falling behind on child support payments, you need to explain to the court why you are unable to make the payments. You may be able to modify your child support order if the payments are unreasonable given your financial circumstances. Either way, you need the assistance of a Crystal Lake, Illinois, family law lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, to resolve your child support issue. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Additional Expenses Can Increase Child Support ObligationIllinois’ child support system uses an income shares schedule to calculate the monetary obligation that co-parents share each month. The rows in the table have monetary ranges that represent the total of the parents’ combined monthly incomes, and columns show the number of children that the parents have. To read the table, you would find the row where your combined incomes fit and choose the column based on how many children you have. That monetary total is Illinois’ estimate for how much you together should pay towards supporting your children each month. However, that number may not be the final child support total. The basic total excludes some child expenses because they are not always necessary. A family court may add these expenses to your total when they apply to your case.

Childcare

Childcare can be a necessary expense when your children are too young to be left alone and there is not an adult available to watch over them. For child support, childcare may include:

  • Daycare;
  • Before and after-school programs; and
  • Day camps when children are on break from school.

Including childcare as part of child support does not allow parents to choose an unreasonably expensive service. The court will judge whether the expense is reasonable based on the parents’ incomes. Parents also must have a reason why they cannot watch the children, such as working, looking for a job, or attending an educational or vocational program.

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Children Are Priority in Child Support Modification ArgumentsWhen you request to have your monthly child support payments reduced, your co-parent may portray your decision as being selfish. However, caring about the well-being of your children is separate from making sure you are paying an appropriate amount of child support. Courts allow you to modify your child support agreement because circumstances can change for both parents. You may believe that your co-parent is the one being selfish because he or she only cares about getting the maximum amount of money from you. However, your co-parent may be genuinely concerned about being able to provide for your children. During a child support modification dispute, parents should understand that they both likely have their children’s best interests in mind.

Two Sides

It is possible for both parents to have legitimate financial concerns when it comes to modifying child support payments:

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Posted on in Divorce

Handling a Tighter Budget After DivorceOne of the unfortunate consequences of divorce is that neither party will be as financially strong apart as they were together. A divorce will reduce the possessions you already have and the available income you will have moving forward. Child support and spousal maintenance can help recover some of the lost income. However, a court may not intend for it to replicate your marriage income. If you are paying your spouse, the support payments are another drain on your income. Divorcees often must live on a tighter budget, which could be a difficult adjustment for yourself and your children.

Your Expectations

You might not think of yourself as living a life of luxury, but trying to create a budget after your divorce may give you a different perspective. Expenses can escalate either in the quantity of purchases you make or the higher quality of the items or services you purchase. There are several ways you can cut back on expenses to fit your new budget. You can start by determining what are necessary living expenses and what are luxuries. You do not have to give up all of your luxury expenses, but you should understand that there is a price to keeping each one. After you calculate the cost of your accustomed lifestyle, you can determine:

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Paying for Your Child's College After DivorceChild support payments make sure that both parents pay a fair share of the expenses related to raising their children into adulthood. However, one of the largest child-related expenses occurs after a child becomes an adult. Attending four years of college can easily cost more than $100,000. Even with scholarships and student loans, the immediate cost may be high. Child support ends once a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, but Illinois divorce law allows a court to order both parents to pay for the college and living expenses of a child who is no longer a minor.

What It Covers

A court may approve shared payment of post-secondary education expenses during the divorce settlement or when a parent petitions for it. If awarded, the expenses will likely be divided proportionately between the parents, based on their incomes and financial resources. Educational expenses can include:

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