If your divorce or other family law order included a child support obligation, there is a good chance that the obligor (person required to make payments) is delinquent. Less than half of child support obligees (persons receiving child support payments) receive the full allotment of child support. The good news is that most obligees receive something, so there is hope.
Technically, the state government has jurisdiction over child support enforcement matters. But the Attorney General has a large caseload, so progress may be slow. Furthermore, the Assistant Attorney General does not represent you or your family. The AAGs represent the State of Illinois, so their priorities may be different from yours.
For these reasons, if you are owed back child support, it is usually better to partner with a Rolling Meadows family law attorney. That way, you make the decisions regarding the available legal options.
Attention-Getting Enforcement Devices
As mentioned, most obligors pay something. They just do not pay the full amount. Therefore, a little incentive may be all that is required. That is especially true if there is limited contact between obligor and child.
In other situations, there is animosity between mother and father. A strong-arm collection technique may throw gasoline onto a fire. Since child support delinquency does not terminate or affect child visitation rights, these situations could end very badly.
So, an attention-getting device may be sufficient to spur compliance. We generally recommend such a method, because like a surgeon, we usually 02recommend the least aggressive measure that may produce results. Some options include:
- Child Support Lien: Property and other liens are essentially meaningless until the person with the lien applies for credit or conducts other such business. Then, the lien means a lot. Most obligors are willing to talk, if it means dissolving the lien.
- Delinquency Letter: Correspondence from a Rolling Meadows family law attorney has no legal effect. But it lets the obligor know that the account is delinquent, someone is watching, and bad things could happen.
- Drivers’ License Suspension: Statistically, few people care about drivers’ license suspension until they are pulled over for a traffic stop or try to renew their licenses. Then, they suddenly care a lot.
Many times, a Rolling Meadows family law attorney works out a compromise in these situations. The obligor simply agrees to add a few dollars to each payment until the delinquency is erased.
Unfortunately, attention-getting devices do not always work. Many obligors simply ignore them or find a way to work around them. Other times, the delinquency is so large, and the obligee needs money so badly, that waiting for the check to come is not an option. Some alternatives are available in these situations as well, such as:
- Withholding Order Enforcement: Most marriage dissolution orders include latent withholding order provisions. If the obligor becomes delinquent, the obligee can pay a small fee which places the order into effect. These orders may actually save obligors money, because they may pay their support with pre-tax dollars.
- Contempt: In extreme situations, Cook County judges can jail obligors until they pay the delinquent amount, or at least a good portion of it.
- Payment Intercept: Many people get large tax refunds in the spring. Other people receive life insurance payouts or get lucky in the lottery. If the payee owes child support money, payday for the obligor could turn into payday for the obligee.
Many times, enforcement actions also include modification actions. The language may be too vague to enforce by contempt, or the child support amount may need to be changed.
Contact a Savvy Lawyer
Child support obligees have a number of options in enforcement matters. For a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Rolling Meadows, contact Andrea Heckman Law. After-hours visits are available.