​​How is a Child Support Order Enforced?

Child support orders are a vital component of family law, ensuring that children receive the financial support they need from both parents. At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, we understand the importance of enforcing these orders to hold parents accountable for their obligations. In this blog, we will provide insight into child support orders and how a family law attorney can assist in their enforcement.

Establishing Child Support Orders

Child support amounts are determined based on an “income sharing” model, taking into consideration the income of both parents and the number of overnights each parent has with the children. This calculation ensures that the financial responsibility is shared equitably between the parents. The objective is to provide for a child’s education as well as their physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Enforcement Mechanisms 

Enforcing child support orders involves various methods that the Illinois Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) utilizes to collect unpaid child support. Some of these mechanisms include:

  • Private Collection Agencies: DCSS can hire private collection agencies to collect unpaid child support arrearages. These agencies have specialized tools and resources to locate non-compliant parents and facilitate the collection process.
  • License Suspension: DCSS has the authority to contact licensing agencies, such as the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations and driver’s licensing agencies, to suspend the professional and vocational licenses of parents who are behind on child support payments.
  • Asset Recovery: DCSS can refer cases to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which has a collection and asset recovery unit. This unit has the authority to extract unpaid child support from parents by utilizing various means, such as seizing bank accounts and other assets.
  • Intercepting Tax Refunds: DCSS can intercept both state and federal tax refunds to collect unpaid child support. This method allows for the recovery of owed amounts by redirecting the refund to satisfy the outstanding child support obligation.
  • Credit Reporting: DCSS can submit child support cases to the Illinois Comptroller, who in turn submits reports to credit bureaus. This negatively impacts the paying parent’s credit score, serving as a deterrent against non-compliance.
  • Withholding Federal Benefits: DCSS can refer cases to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, enabling them to withhold a portion of certain federal benefits from parents who are behind on child support.
  • Contempt Proceedings: DCSS has the authority to initiate contempt proceedings, requiring the paying parent to appear in court and explain why they have disobeyed a court order.
  • Lien on Property: In cases of persistent non-compliance, DCSS can obtain a lien against a paying parent’s house or land. This prevents the sale or transfer of ownership until the child support obligation is brought current.

How an Attorney Can Help

A family law attorney plays a pivotal role in enforcing child support orders and ensuring the welfare of the child. We are experienced in navigating complex family law matters and can provide invaluable assistance in making sure the child support orders are complied with. We can help in preparing necessary legal paperwork, representing the custodial parent in court, aid in negotiating with the non-compliant parent, and provide guidance on the next steps if payments are not being made. Moreover, in situations where circumstances have changed, we can assist in petitioning the court for modifications to the child support order to better reflect the current financial situation.

Contact Us for Help

At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, we are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for your child. If you’re facing challenges with enforcing a child support order or you have questions about any aspect of family law, we’re here to help. Don’t navigate these challenging waters alone reach out to us for a consultation today and take the first step towards achieving financial security for your child.

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