Can Child Support Arrears Be Negotiated?
In Illinois, the parent paying child support is in ‘arrears’ if they fail to pay the full amount to the custodial parent. The amount can be significant depending on the number of missed payments. Still, if they weren’t paid because of uncontrollable circumstances (such as unemployment or injuries/disease), you can try and negotiate the amount with the other parent through the court.
Hiring Schaumburg child support lawyers to represent you in court or develop a new agreement for child support is also a good idea.
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How Child Support Arrears Are Dealt With In Illinois
As per Illinois law, child support covers any child under 18 years of age and those older than 18 (younger than 19) but still in high school. Each order also has a termination date, and stopping payments beforehand is illegal. Besides taking care of the pending payments, the paying parent may also have to pay penalties or interest.
As per the official terms in the statute, the termination date should not predate the child’s 18 birthday. However, if the child will graduate high school after that age, the date cannot be earlier than when they graduate or when they turn 19, whichever comes first.
When you get a child support order, the amount you are responsible for paying is not a suggestion. It has to be paid monthly without delay till the termination date. Each missed payment or arrear grows with a 9% interest rate, so timely payments are necessary.
As per the Non-Support Punishment Act, you may be charged with willful failure to support if you:
- Willfully and without any legal excuse, you refused to pay child support even though you can make payments.
- Deliberately failed to honor a child support obligation and have not paid for at least six months or have arrears amounting to $5,000 or more even though you can make payments.
- Willfully left the state to avoid making child support and accrued payments that span more than six months or in arrears amounting to more than $10,000.
- Willfully failed to honor a child support obligation ordered by the court for more than a year or is in arrears amounting to more than $10,000 or $20,000.
If you are guilty of willfully avoiding child support arrears, you can be charged with a Class A or Class 4 felony, depending on the amount owed, along with hefty penalties.
Modifying Child Support Arrears
If you cannot make payments because you are unemployed because of an injury, disease, or lack of training, you can get the arrears modified. In Illinois, you can get a modification review for your child support obligation once every three years or if there is a significant change in the child’s needs or the other parent’s income. For example, if the custodial parent gets a job, the court may be more willing to reduce the payment amount so they can pay for some of it.
However, before your order is reviewed for modification, your and your ex’s income will be reviewed to determine the overall balance and other information.
Make sure you have Schaumburg child support lawyers who can prove your inability to pay as a non-custodial parent. If you can do that, the payment may be reduced.
After you submit a request for modification, you will get a Certification of Income and Expenses form. Make sure you fill and submit it within 15 days after you receive it.
If you lose your job, inform the court as soon as possible. The judge may decrease the support for a while or may modify the order as per your circumstances. However, stopping payments entirely is not a good idea. You can easily fall into arrears if you depend on others for your living situation and do not pay child support. You should pay at least some amount, or you may be held in contempt of court.
What Happens If You Fail To Pay Child Support?
If you fail to pay child support for years, and the custodial parent hires an attorney to make you pay arrears, you will also be responsible for paying for their legal aid. Your ex can also petition the court to hold you in contempt unless you can prove you lost your job because of no fault of your own.
So if you are unemployed, you also have to show the court that you are trying to get a job again and are thus aware of your child support obligations. Keep track of your efforts and show proof. File for unemployment first and show it in court when you receive the notice and ask for the child support to be modified so you can avoid arrears.
However, you can face punitive measures if you don’t take steps to find a job or fail to pay when you do find one. Your driver’s license can be suspended, your bank account or tax returns may be garnished to fulfill those payments, and you may also lose your home, depending on the arrears owed.
In other words, any asset you possess can be seized to cover pending support payments. This includes your wages which a collection agency may pursue you for.
What Happens If The Child Turns 18 Years Of Age Or Graduates At 19 In Illinois?
If you owe arrears or pending child support after the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, you have to pay till you fulfill your obligation or the arrear is satisfied. If you were paying an additional amount for it, you still need to pay that when the child turns into an adult.
While the statute doesn’t explicitly state that arrearage for child support can be modified, it doesn’t say it cannot be negotiated either. Make sure you pay what you can, even if it isn’t close to the set amount. Unemployment cannot be used as an excuse to renege on child custody payments. The annual interest rate can range from 5% to 9%, so making small payments is a good idea.
The paying parent has to fulfill the debt of the remaining arrears payments or get more debt. You may also face jail time. Think of child arrears as a credit card you need to pay off ultimately.
What If You Cannot Come To An Arrangement With The Other Parent?
If you are the custodial parent and cannot come to an agreement regarding child support or arrear modifications, you can do the following:
- List the amount that the payer owes. The court will let them pay what they can every week.
- Take the judgment of the arrearage amount to a collections lawyer or Schaumburg child support lawyers. Once they successfully register the judgment in the court, the obligor’s wages are garnished. This is usually 25% of their disposable income and a seizure of assets.
A dedicated attorney will ensure you get all the money owed in child support payments and interest. If you wish to discuss child support obligations or how to ensure the paying parent covers the arrearage, contact a child support lawyer from a reputable family law agency such as the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov. They take on family law cases exclusively and can ensure you get justice.
Your opponent is an individual who is hell-bent on avoiding child support obligations. You need an attorney who can ensure your children are taken care of.
They can also help you negotiate with your ex to reach a new agreement regarding child support arrears if you think it is negotiable. Your attorney will advise you to protect your and your children’s interest in such cases keeping the paying parent’s obligations, past behavior, and frequency of payments in mind.
Discuss Your Case With Dedicated Schaumburg Child Support Lawyers Today!
If you are searching for compassionate and driven attorneys proficient in Illinois family law, contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov by dialing (847) 241-1299. We have decades of experience aiding frustrated and stressed clients such as you who are at their wit’s end because their ex refuses to pay or is delaying child support.
We will work closely with you every step of the way to ensure those payments are made in full and with interest if required. Our team will ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, and the obligator pays what is owed whether your child is 18 years old or graduated from high school. Your children deserve that support in full.
We only provide dedicated services for family law cases, so you know you will receive the best solutions and legal strategies. Our team has skilled negotiators and litigators who do not back down in the face of aggressive opponents. But we are friendly and compassionate towards our clients who are usually highly stressed out.
Let us take the reins as you work to keep your family together and support them however you can. Contact us to book a 100% confidential consultation to start the process. All of our attorneys are skilled at their job, and we will ensure you get one who is proficient in your type of case.