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Early last year a news story was published about a California woman that was awarded child support 50 years after her husband left the state to move to Canada. At the time, the couple had a daughter that was only three years old, and the woman was left to raise her on her own and without any financial support. The case is an interesting one and still has people talking. It is also often referred to when family lawyers are advising clients on their case.
In California, the woman was able to obtain support 50 years from the date he left the state because there was no statute of limitations on child support. So, does Illinois place a statute of limitations on child support payments?
In Illinois, like in all other states, parents are responsible for providing financially for their children, even when the parents get a divorce. Typically, a judge will first award child custody to one parent and the non-custodial parent is responsible for making payments to the custodial parent.
Parents that are ordered to make child support payments must continue to do so from the time of divorce until the child is 18 years old. In the event that the child is 19 years old and still in high school, parents must pay child support until the child graduates. However, the age of the child only refers to how long a parent must pay support, not the statute of limitations.
The term ‘statute of limitations’ is a legal one that refers to the amount of time a parent has to start legal proceedings when the other parent has not paid proper child support. Just as California does not place a statute of limitations on child support, neither does Illinois. This means that even when 50 years, or more, has passed, parents can still file a lawsuit against the other parent for child support arrears, including interest and their attorney fees.
Essentially, when one parent is ordered by the court to pay child support, there is little they can do to avoid that obligation. Even when a paying parent loses their job or there is another unforeseen circumstance that affects their ability to pay support, the only way to avoid doing so is to petition the court for a child support modification. Modifications can only be obtained from a court. If a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, they face a number of penalties including wage garnishment, a bank levy, liens on their property, and even being held in contempt of court.
If you have gotten a divorce and you are now experiencing issues with child support, our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help. We know how to hold parents accountable for paying the child support they owe and can help you modify your court order when necessary. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation and to learn more about how we can help.