"Deadbeat parent" is a phrase that you have probably heard many times before. In colloquial language, the term refers to a father or a mother who refuses to take responsibility for his or her child. Of course, parenting responsibilities can take many forms, and, for divorced, separated, or never-married parents, child support is often of them. The state of Illinois takes child support obligations very seriously and has enacted a number of measures to permit punitive actions against deadbeat parents who are significantly delinquent in ordered child support payments.
Missing even a single ordered payment of child support can have a detrimental effect on the child. The money provided through support payments is intended to benefit the child by alleviating expenses related to shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities of daily living. As soon as a paying parent falls behind on payment, collection activities by the Illinois Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The delinquent parent may also be found to be in contempt of court for violating the support order, which could lead to fines and periodic incarceration. If the delinquency reaches six months or totals $5,000 or more, the responsible party may face criminal charges for failure to support. Conviction on such a charge may result in fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record.
A parent who is delinquent in support payments by at least 90 days may also be subject to administrative sanctions by the Secretary of State’s office. The Family Financial Responsibility Act grants the Secretary of State’s office the authority to suspend the driving privileges of anyone 90 days or more behind on child support. When notified by the court or by the Department for Healthcare and Family Services (DFHS), the Secretary of State’s office sends notice to the delinquent parent that his or her driving privileges will be suspended in 60 days. The suspension can be avoided if the court of DHFS informs the Secretary of State’s office that the delinquency has been resolved. Otherwise, the suspension will remain in effect until the parent is in compliance with the child support order.
Once a delinquent child support case has reached a point where criminal charges are possible, the non-compliant parent faces at least one more possible consequence. The DCSS, by law, is permitted to release to the general public information about "deadbeat parents", or those who owe more than $5,000 in past-due support. The information, including names, photo, physical description, and last known address, may be posted to deadbeatsillinois.com, a website specifically created for the purpose.
If you are behind on child support payments, it is important to take steps toward rectifying the situation immediately. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be able to seek an order modification or an arrangement for catching up on missed payments. Contact an experienced Illinois child support attorney in your area for more information and to get the legal guidance you need. Do not become a deadbeat parent. Take action today. For assistance figuring out your child support payments, try our convenient Illinois Child Support Calculator.