With U.S. unemployment numbers reaching historic highs over the last several months, many Illinois residents are finding themselves incapable of paying their child support and spousal support. Unfortunately, despite these extenuating circumstances and even if you are unemployed, you are still required to make these payments. Here are the consequences of failure to pay and what you can do if you know you will be unable to pay your spousal maintenance or child support by their due date.
What Happens If You Do Not Pay Child Support or Spousal Support?
If you neglect to pay the child support or spousal maintenance payments ordered by the court in your divorce decree, any or all of the following could happen:
The unemployment benefits you receive could be garnished to cover the child support or spousal support payments, leaving not much of anything for your own personal living expenses.
Your driver’s license might get suspended or revoked, which would make it more difficult for you to get a job, further compounding your problems.
You might be required to serve jail time for not complying with the terms of the divorce. Remember: a divorce decree is a legal judgment like any other, enforceable by law with stiff penalties for noncompliance.
Liens can be taken out on your property.
Your income tax returns can be withheld.
Additionally, as the unpaid support payments continue to add up, interest may accrue. As you can see, the consequences of failing to pay support payments can be severe and may leave you struggling to make future payments.
What to Do If You Can No Longer Afford Support Payments
If you are now unemployed or face other significant reductions to income that prevent you from making support payments, you may be able to modify your divorce agreement to reflect these changes in your income. This will allow you, your former spouse, and the court to renegotiate the terms of your divorce agreement so that the support payments are more manageable. Keep in mind though, that in Illinois, child support payments are particularly difficult to modify, so you have to be sure you can substantiate your claims with convincing evidence.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
If these challenging times are preventing you from making support payments, you should seek professional legal counsel. The experienced team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you figure out the best course of legal action to ensure that you can lawfully reduce or stop making support payments based on your current work situation and avoid legal consequences for doing so. Call a Wheaton, IL divorce order modification lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.