In this article, we discuss collection of past due child support in Illinois. We explain the concept of statutes of limitations, and the ramifications of there being no statute of limitations for child support in Illinois.
A reader posted the following question in the comments section of our article, Changes to Illinois Child Support Laws for 2019:
“Been divorced since 2003. He stopped paying child support 7 yrs ago. He was paying through the state disbursement unit. He kept quitting jobs. My children are 20 and 18 now. Still live with me. Can I get back child support still?”
The short answer is that you can still recover back child support, because there is no statute of limitations in Illinois for unpaid child support.
A “statute of limitations” is a prohibition created by statute that bars people from bringing certain types of claims after a certain time period has passed. Statutes of limitations are most common in civil litigation. The effect of a statute of limitation is that, even if you have a good claim against another person that would entitle you to damages, your lawsuit will be dismissed if you do not file your lawsuit within the time period required by the statute of limitations.
Child support is a special class of claim that public policy attempts to make as easy as possible to enforce and as difficult as possible for obligors to avoid. Any payments required by a child support order that the obligor has failed to pay gather interest at a rate of 9% per annum. Missed payments continue to be due and owing until they are paid along with any accrued interest, no matter how much time passes after the time that the payment became due.
Even if the obligor has lost his or her job, the payments continue to be required unless the obligor goes to court to have the child support order modified based on changed circumstances. Even in these cases, the payments that were due before the date that the obligor filed his or her motion to modify child support will still be owed. To learn more about child support modification, check out our article, Illinois Child Support Modification Explained.
If you would like to learn more about your enforcement options or the penalties for failure to pay child support that is due and owing, such as revocation of the obligor’s driver’s license, please check out our article, How to Enforce Child Support in Illinois.