What If Your Ex Will Not Pay Child Support?
Under Illinois law, a supporting parent is usually required to pay at least 20 percent of their net income to their former spouse to support a child, a percentage that only goes up with each additional child to be supported. The exact percentage of child support that must be paid should be recorded in the divorce decree. In many cases, however, supporting parents are unable to make these payments because of changing financial circumstances, or are unwilling to meet their obligations for some other reason. If this has arisen in your situation, you do not have to accept your former spouse’s noncompliance with the court order. You can take him or her to court and require that they show cause as to why they are not paying child support.
Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause
A petition for rule to show cause is a motion filed with the court after it has entered an order directing one or both parties to do something. In a petition for rule to show cause, the petitioner asks the court to have the other party come before it and explain why they are not following the court order. As applied to child support proceedings, this means making your former spouse appear before the judge to explain why they are not making child support payments.
At the show cause hearing, the judge will listen to evidence from both sides. The petitioner will often present proof showing that the supporting parent has a history of not making child support payments on time. This can usually be shown through bank statements or other financial records.
The respondent will have to explain why they have not been making the child support payments as ordered, and why they have not sought a formal modification to the original court order. How the court rules will largely depend on the exact circumstances of the case. Courts are usually sympathetic to people who have attempted, in good faith, to pay child support, but who have recently lost a job or face large medical bills. Judges will not accept flagrant disregard of a court order, however.
If the court finds that the respondent has not shown cause as to why they are not making the required child support payments, the court may find the respondent in contempt. Contempt of court is an extremely serious matter. After such a finding, the judge will normally enter another order requiring the respondent to pay the back child support that is owed, but in extreme cases, the judge may also order that the respondent
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you are having trouble collecting child support from a former spouse, it is important to contact a knowledgeable family law attorney to discuss the best way to recover the money owed to you and your children. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the often complicated procedures of the Illinois court system. Contact a knowledgeable Geneva family law attorneys today for a consultation.