A parent that has an Order for Support can ask a court to force the other parent to pay the child support that is owed.
If the parent has a case with IV-D Services, they can contact IV-D to help enforce the order. Otherwise, they will have to go to court to show evidence to a judge to prove how much is unpaid. The judge can then force the other parent to pay.
Finding out how much child support is owed
If the child support payments are made through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit, also called SDU, it can provide a list of the payments already made and the amount the paying parent still owes. Parents should compare their personal records with those from SDU because SDU's records may not always be right.
If the child support payments are made through the circuit clerk's office, parents can ask the circuit clerk's office for the same information that they could request from SDU.
If the child support payments are made directly to a parent, then they will have to be ready to show evidence that the paying parent did not pay the child support they were ordered to.
Sending a new Notice to Withhold Income for Support
A Notice to Withhold Income tells the paying parent's employer to take the child support payment out of the paying parent's paycheck and send it to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The SDU will then send the receiving parent the child support money. The SDU and the circuit clerk that entered the Uniform Order for Support will keep a record of payments.
In most cases, the court orders the paying parent to pay child support straight from their paycheck. To get the child support, a Notice to Withhold Income for Support is given to the paying parent's employer.
If the paying parent falls behind in paying child support, the parent receiving support can serve a new Notice to Withhold Income for Support on the paying parent and their employer.
The new Notice to Withhold Income for Support must say:
- The amount of time the child support was missed
- How much is owed up to the date of the notice
The new Notice to Withhold Income for Support can also say the amount that the parent has to pay to make up the missed child support.
Learn more about How child support is paid.
Using a Rule to Show Cause
A parent can also ask the judge to hold the other parent in contempt for not paying child support. Contempt could include fees or even jail time if the parent does not cooperate.
In order to ask the judge to do this, the parent must file a Petition for a Rule to Show Cause.
The parent who is not paying child support must then tell the court why they did not intentionally violate the court order to pay child support. This means the parent must show the court that they had good reason not to pay child support.
For example, the parent might argue that they lost their job and could not afford to make the child support payment.
Once the parent who owes child support receives notice that a Petition for Rule to Show Cause has been filed with the court, they may ask the court to assign a lawyer to represent them. Depending on what county the case is in, a public defender may be assigned. The parent can then try to show that they did not violate the court order on purpose.
If the parent has a history of not paying child support, the judge is likely to decide that a specific amount of the child support owed must be paid by a certain date. If the parent still does not comply, the judge may order jail time. The judge may also make that parent pay interest on the unpaid child support. The interest rate on unpaid child support is 9%.