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I am behind in child support: What will happen to me?

 Posted on November 11, 2021 in Child Support

In Illinois, child support is determined by a number of factors. One of the most common questions parents ask when it comes to child support is, “What will happen if the paying parent refuses or falls behind in their payments?”

Regardless of the reasons why the non-custodial parent is not able to follow through with child support payments, one thing is certain that they may have a legal dilemma.

Parental vs. legal obligations

Whether married, separated, divorced or never married, every parent is responsible for their child’s financial and emotional well-being. There are laws in place to ensure that children receive what they deserve to live a happy and healthy life. Most often, the court will direct the non-custodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent for the child’s basic needs.

Several factors are taken into account when determining the child support amount. These include the child’s needs, each spouse’s income as well as the parents’ other financial obligations. Illinois utilizes the Income Shares concept to determine child support amounts. With this concept, the total child support amount is calculated based on both parents’ net income. The amount is then divided between the parents according to the percentage of their combined income.

The consequences of not paying child support

In Illinois, the penalties for failing to pay child support can include fines and jail time. In fact, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if you fail to pay child support for six months or owe more than $5,000 in child support. If the owed amount accrues to $20,000 or more, you may be charged with a Class 4 felony which attracts a jail time of up to 3 years.

Illinois parents are legally required to provide financial support for their children until they turn 18 years of age or graduate from high school. Failing to pay child support can result in serious repercussions.

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