In divorce cases, child support or spousal maintenance payments are often ordered. If you have been awarded spousal support or child support, chances are you need those payments in order to provide for your family’s needs. In some cases, a spouse may not be consistent in making support payments, or he or she may refuse to pay them altogether. Not only can this be frustrating, but it can also result in serious legal ramifications for the non-paying spouse. Both types of support orders are legal court orders, meaning a person can face harsh consequences if they are not followed. Illinois courts have various ways of enforcing support orders when this becomes necessary.
Failure to Pay Support in Illinois
The state of Illinois does everything in its power to ensure that those who are required to pay spousal support or child support do so. There are several different ways a person can be held in contempt for failing to pay a support order, according to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act. A person may be found to be in contempt if he or she:
Willfully refuses to pay maintenance to his or her ex-spouse, with the knowledge that his or her ex needs such maintenance.
Willfully refuses to provide for the support of his or her child who needs the support, if he or she has the ability to pay the support.
Willfully fails to pay an obligation for support for longer than six months or owes more than $5,000 in support, if he or she has the ability to provide the support.
Leaves the state in order to evade a support obligation that has remained unpaid for more than six months or that has accrued to an amount more than $10,000.
Willfully fails to pay a support obligation that has remained unpaid for longer than one year or has accrued to an amount more than $20,000.
A finding of contempt can lead to sanctions and penalties against the offending party. He or she could be ordered to pay fines or even spend time in jail.
How Can I Enforce My Ex’s Payment of Support?
Unless the support order was entered into by default, the court presumes the person has the ability to pay the support. Because a support order is a court order, you have the right to take legal action to collect the money that you are owed. If your ex-spouse is not paying child support, you can work with the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), which will request prosecution if your ex has not paid support for at least six months or if more than $5,000 in accrued support remains unpaid. Unfortunately, DCSS is often overloaded, and getting results through the agency can take a long time, while you are still without the payments that you need.
Another route you can take is through an attorney. A support order enforcement lawyer can work with DCSS to prosecute your ex-spouse. Using an attorney may speed up the legal process, and more solutions for recovering the amount owed may be available. During a hearing regarding your ex’s failure to pay court-ordered support, your attorney can request that the judge sentence your ex-spouse to imprisonment, order him or her to pay all future payments, and/or come up with a payment schedule to repay the money owed to you. Your attorney may also be able to request to have money withheld from your ex-spouse’s paychecks, place a lien on his or her property, and/or require the posting of a bond or other assets.
Contact a DuPage County Support Order Enforcement Attorney Today
If your ex has not been paying the support orders that he or she is legally required to pay, you have options. First, you should get in touch with a compassionate Wheaton, IL divorce order enforcement lawyer as soon as possible. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we understand how difficult dealing with an uncooperative ex can be. Our team can help you figure out the best course of action to recover past due payments and to ensure future payments. Contact us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.