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Avoiding Child Support Payments — The Legal and Financial Consequences 

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naperville child support lawyerThere are many reasons why parents choose not to pay child support payments. Whether a parent doesn’t feel the child support order is justified, or a financial loss makes it hard to maintain payments, real legal consequences follow nonpayment of child support. After the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more parents found themselves in tight financial situations, causing difficulty paying child support. To avoid legal penalties for avoiding child support payments, parents in a tight financial situation can follow a legal modification process to change their child support order.

Legal Consequences

Child support orders are written as part of a divorce decree. The divorce decree is a legal document drafted for spouses after a divorce. Parents choosing not to pay child support are breaking a legal document and can face severe penalties. 

If a parent is not paying child support, the recipient parent may contact the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce the child support order. After six months of avoiding child support payments, or after over $5,000 in outstanding child support has accumulated, the DCSS may choose to submit a prosecution request to the obligor parent through the state. 

The penalties for avoiding child support range in severity depending on the length of time the parent avoided paying child support and the reason for breaking a court order. Typically, outstanding child support around $5,000 or after six months may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Outstanding payments over $20,000 may be charged as a Class 4 felony. The felony charge could carry up to three years of jail time.

The Right Way to Handle It 

If you are under financial stress and find yourself unable to pay child support, there are ways to modify your court order and decrease the amount you owe. A family law attorney can help you inform the state of your financial hardship and submit a request to modify your child support order. 

Illinois imposes a 9% interest on outstanding child support payments beginning 30 days from the first unpaid amount. If you are in a situation where you can no longer afford your child support payments, it is critical to speak with an attorney in your area who can walk you through the process of modifying your court-ordered child support payments.

Speak with a Will County Child Support Lawyer 

At the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C., our Naperville family attorneys have experience working with clients who cannot pay their child support payments. We can help guide you through applying for a modification through the state. Call today at 630-355-7776 for a free consultation with our office. 




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