How to Get Out From Under Child Support Debt

How to Get Out From Under Child Support DebtYou can quickly amass a large debt if you fall behind on making your required monthly child support payments. You will not only owe back child support, known as child support arrears, but Illinois will charge nine percent interest per year when you are 30 days late on making a payment. There can be serious consequences for parents who do not pay their child support, including:

  • Fines;
  • Wage garnishment;
  • Withholding of tax refunds;
  • Driver’s license suspension; and
  • Jail time.

You should treat child support debt seriously by trying to pay it off and making sure you can afford future payments.

Debt Consolidation

Some people who owe child support arrears take out an unsecured personal loan in order to repay it. You would be shifting that debt from child support to a creditor, but there is not a risk of jail time if you are unable to keep up with payments on an unsecured loan. Whether a personal loan will help you depends on your credit rating. You must:

  • Qualify for a large enough loan to pay for your child support arrears; and
  • Obtain a loan that has a lower interest rate than the nine percent that Illinois charges you.

A secured personal loan would not put you at risk of jail time, but you could lose the collateral property attached to the loan if you cannot stay current with your payments.


You should explore whether you can change your child support payments if you cannot keep up with them. You are allowed to petition to modify your child support obligation when you have a change of financial circumstances, such as losing your job or receiving reduced pay. If you have not modified your child support in several years, your payments may not be following the income shares model that Illinois adopted in July 2017:

  • Before the change in the law, the parent who did not have custody of the children would pay a certain percentage of his or her income, depending on the number of children; but
  • The income shares model considers child support a shared obligation between two parents, with each parent paying a percentage that matches their comparative incomes.

You are allowed to modify your child support payments every three years if you have not had a change of circumstances.

Contact a Geneva Divorce Attorney

Your child support payments should accurately reflect the financial means of yourself and your co-parent. A Kane County divorce attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can help you petition to modify your child support. To schedule a free consultation, call 331-588-6611.


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