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How to Enforce Child Support in Illinois | Illinois Child Support Remedies Explained

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Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain how to enforce a child support order in Illinois, including: if you should hire an attorney to enforce child support, what the penalties are for failing to pay child support in Illinois, and how to enforce child support owed by an out-of-state parent.   

For an overview of Illinois child support law, check out our article: Illinois Child Support 2019.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Enforce A Child Support Order in Illinois?

If a parent is failing to make his or her court ordered child support payments, the child support recipient’s first move should be to hire a family law attorney to work with the Illinois Department of Child Support Services to pursue administrative remedies and/or to independently enforce the child support order in court.

The Illinois Department of Child Support Services uses a variety of administrative methods outside of the court system to pursue delinquent child support obligations including wage garnishments, liens on the obligors property, revocation of drivers licenses, intercepting the obligor’s tax refunds, denial of a passport, and criminal prosecution.  

While you do not need to hire an attorney to pursue administrative remedies through the DCSS, many people find hiring a family law attorney to be the best first step in enforcing a child support order for the following reasons:

  • A family law attorney will facilitate your case with DCSS, save you the time and stress of performing the legwork associated with working with the DCSS, and ensure that the matter is pursued effectively.
  • Since the DCSS is a government organization, they may have a backlog of cases.  If your case is time sensitive, a family law attorney may be able to achieve more speedy results through the court system.  This can be done either instead of or in conjunction with pursuing non-judicial remedies through the DCSS.  
  • Family Law attorneys are likely to be better equipped to handle more complicated cases as well as provide more personalized services than the DCSS.  

How to Enforce an Illinois Child Support Order

The proper method for enforcing a child support order is to institute a contempt proceeding against the obligor.  This is done by filing a motion for post-decree enforcement of the child support order.  For a more detailed explanation of contempt proceedings, check out our article: Illinois Contempt of Court Explained.

What are the Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support in Illinois?

Illinois courts may order a wide range of penalties against a parent who fails to pay his or her child support, including:

  • Probation
  • Jail time not to exceed 6 months, with release for work
  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Wage garnishments
  • Seizing of the obligor’s assets to pay arrears
  • Suspension or restriction of driving privileges if either the child support has not been paid for at least 90 days or is delinquent in an amount equal to at least 90 days’ payment.

How to Enforce Child Support Owed By an Out of State Parent

If the obligor moves out of Illinois, your Illinois child support order will still be enforceable, according to the Uniform Family Support Act.  You will have the choice of enforcing the child support order either in the court that most recently entered or modified the order or in the state in which the obligor parent currently lives.  For more on this, check our our article, How to Transfer Your Child Support Case to a Different State.

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How to Enforce Child Support in Illinois | Illinois Child Support Remedies Explained

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