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Options when you're owed unpaid child support

If you thought the process of obtaining a court order so that you may be eligible to collect child support from your ex, the process of actually collecting support can be a slow, arduous process. As terrible as it may sound, having a court order does not guarantee payment of child support.

A 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report indicates that less than half of parents with current support orders are collecting the full amount ordered to be paid each month. As such, the State of Illinois can pursue a variety of actions on order to enforce support orders.  For instance, the state can:

  • Garnish the obligor's wages. The state can take money directly from the obligor's (the person ordered to pay support) paycheck. Wage garnishment is the most common action taken by the child support division.
  • Notify credit bureaus. Delinquent child support can be viewed as unpaid debt and the child support division can notify credit bureau of support arrears; thus negatively affecting the obligor's credit score.
  • Intercept refunds and payments. The state can withhold tax refunds, intercept unemployment insurance benefits and workers' compensation payments.
  • Suspend a passport or certain licenses. The obligor's passport can be suspended by the U.S. State Department. Also, the state can recommend that the obligor's driver's license, professional license, and/or recreational licenses be suspended.
  • Initiate criminal proceedings. If child support arrears become particularly egregious, the obligor can be criminally charged and face jail time and fines.

Collecting Unpaid Spousal Support

If the state's attorney's office has not taken your case, an experienced family law attorney can help with the process. After all, failing to pay court ordered spousal support can be considered contempt of court. Contempt is a very serious offense, and judges do not take it lightly.  A judge can impose actions similar to those levied for unpaid child support.

If you have questions about collecting unpaid support, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.

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