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Child Support Collections in Illinois

Child Support Collections in Illinois

By: M. Scott Gordon

If you have a child support order in place but your ex-spouse is not making regular child support payments, what are your options? It is important to understand how child support collections in Illinois works, and what actions you can take if the noncustodial parent is not properly supporting his or her child.

Challenges of Child Support Collection in Chicago

It is not always easy to obtain child support funds owed by a noncustodial parent. Indeed, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, dealing with issues concerning jurisdiction can be particularly complicated. And jurisdictional impediments have only been made worse by the recession in 2009. Over the last five or six years, many custodial parents in the Chicago area indicate that they have returned to court “again and again to obtain court-ordered child support.”

Some noncustodial parents make child support collections more difficult than others. For example, when a noncustodial parent moves frequently, changing addresses and jobs, it can be difficult to obtain the money they owe. The same goes for noncustodial parents who under report their earnings, typically when they are self-employed. In these cases, it can look as though the noncustodial parent actually makes a lot less money than she or he does in practice. And as a result, child support payments can be lower than they should be.

Learning More About Child Support Collection Options

What can you do if a noncustodial parent will not make good on his or her child support obligations? Illinois Child Support Services emphasizes that children deserve to have both financial and emotional support from both of their parents, and the state has an interest in ensuring that child support obligations are met. When it comes to paying or collecting child support payments, Illinois makes it easy for noncustodial parents to pay electronically or to use a direct deposit program. But despite the ease with which noncustodial parents can make payments, some choose to shirk this obligation.

The Circuit Court of Cook County underscores that, in Illinois, “parents have a duty to financially support their minor children,” and in most cases, “the amount for child support will be a fixed dollar amount based on a certain percentage of the child support payor’s net income.” When a custodial parent does not receive a child support payment, it is possible to turn to the court to have your child support order enforced. What do you need to attempt to collect child support payments? First and foremost, you will need to have a Uniform Order of Support.

What goes into a Uniform Order of Support? Such an order includes some of the following:

  • Amount of the child support payment;
  • Frequency with which payment will be made (for instance, on a weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis);
  • Health insurance obligations for the child (custodial or noncustodial parent);
  • How payments will be made (for example, will they be deducted from the payor’s paycheck or will the payor make payments directly after she or he receives her paycheck?); and
  • Whether payments will be made directly to the custodial parent or to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (other considerations may be whether the payor will use the state’s Direct Deposit program or the state’s electronic payment system).

With a Uniform Order of Support and evidence of child support delinquency, you can have the court enforce the terms of your order. However, as the Chicago Tribune article points out, child support collections can be frustrating and complicated. If you have questions about collecting on a child support delinquency, you should discuss your situation with an experienced Chicago family law attorney as soon as possible. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today to talk about your case.