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Illinois Child Support Enforcement

Paying child support is an important obligation. If a non-custodial parent stops paying child support under a child support order, there can be major consequences.

In Illinois, child support orders are usually enforced through state courts, but in certain circumstances can be enforced by federal law.

Illinois courts can do a number of things to a parent who doesn’t pay their child support including sending him or her to jail, ordering him or her to perform community service, imposing steep fines, wage garnishment, and other penalties. Criminal punishment is usually reserved for parents who willfully don’t pay for over six months a person or have over $10,000 in back payments, also called arrearages.

If the non-custodial parent is having problems making payments, he or she can always seek to modify their existing support order. This will require going back to court and explaining to the judge why they can’t make the payments.

Enforcing Child Support Orders in Illinois

To enforce or collect a child support order, you’ll need to contact your local child support agency and bring a copy of your child support order. Those agencies will began an investigation and try to get the non-custodial parent to pay. Child support agencies have a number of different resources available to help collect the support including:

• Intercepting state and federal income tax refunds;
• Wage garnishment;
• Placing a lien against property;
• Garnishing a bank account;
• Suspending or revoking the parent’s Illinois driver’s license;
• Requesting state or federal criminal prosecution for non-payment;
in certain circumstances;
• Denial of a U.S. passport if over $2,500 in arrears; and
• List the name and photograph of the parent on the “Illinois Deadbeat Parent” website (usually reserved for parents who owe $5,000 or more in past-due child support).

The following table highlights the main provisions of Illinois's Child Support Enforcement Laws. See also How Do I Locate a Parent for Child Support, and Enforcement and Collection of Back Child Support for general information on those topics.

Code Section 750 ILCS 5/505
Who is Responsible? Both Parents.
Agencies Illinois Department of Child Support Services, Illinois Attorney General, and State’s Attorney.
Remedies Available Wage Garnishment, Fines, Possible Criminal Prosecution, Possible Denial of a U.S. Passport, Interception of tax refunds, worker’s compensation awards, or other state benefits, reporting to a credit bureau, and more.

Federal Enforcement

If the non-custodial parent moves out of Illinois, the support order can still be enforced in any other U.S. state under the Uniform Federal Family Support Act. If you need help locating the other parent, the federal government has a Federal Parent Locator Service.

Who Can Help Me Enforce Child Support Orders in Illinois?

Child support enforcement laws are complicated. There are a number of different resources available to you in Illinois. You can start by contacting a private family law attorney who can do all the legwork. You can also get in touch with your local legal aid provider.

Here’s a list of child support enforcement agencies.

1. Illinois Department of Child Support Services - Assistance in getting a child support order in your county;

2. State’s Attorney - For assistance in getting a child support order enforced in another county;

3. Office of the Attorney General - For assistance in getting a child support order enforced in another state.

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