What to Do if You Fall Into Child Support Arrears

IL divorce lawyerChild support is often awarded in divorce cases and typically, payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent that won custody. Falling into arrears on a child support order means you have not paid the appropriate amount of support, and it is a very serious matter. Child support orders are court orders and as such, they are legally binding. If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is essential that you do your best to make payments on time so you can avoid the consequences that come with falling into arrears.

Interest on Child Support Arrears

Child support arrears are calculated by subtracting the amount of money you have paid by the total amount of support you were supposed to pay. If you fall into arrears or do not pay the proper amount of support, you still owe the money. However, the total amount of arrears also collects interest at a rate of nine percent, which is more than the vast majority of types of investments.

A parent that is owed child support payments may not take action right away, allowing that interest to continue to build. Once they do take legal action, the interest owed alone can be so great that any payments you are able to make only cover the interest. That essentially means that you do not make any progress in paying the amount originally owed.

Modifying Child Support Orders

If you cannot pay child support because you have lost your job or due to another unforeseen circumstance, it is essential that you petition the court for a child support modification. After you submit your petition, the court will hear your side of the story and make a final decision, perhaps lessening the amount of support you have to pay, or even placing a temporary hold on all payments due.

Child support modifications will only affect future payments. If you have fallen into arrears, you are still responsible for paying them and even a judge does not have the authority to make changes to those payments. Due to this, it is essential that you seek a modification from the court as soon as possible once you know you cannot pay proper child support payments.

Penalties for Missing Child Support Payments

While it is true that the interest that collects on child support arrears is significant, there are other penalties you may face, as well. If your former spouse goes to court to enforce the order, your wages or bank account may be garnished, and your driver’s license may be suspended. Worse, a judge may find you in contempt of court, which has penalties of high fines and perhaps even jail time.

Our Experienced Geneva Family Lawyers can Help with Your Modification

If you cannot pay your child support, our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can give you the best chance of securing a modification from the court. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.





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