What Do I Do If a Parent Is Not Paying Child Support?

Jun 27, 2024 | Family Law | 0 comments

Child support is crucial for ensuring that children receive consistent care and financial stability after their parents have separated or divorced. In Illinois, child support obligations are legally enforced, and there are specific actions you can do when a parent is not paying child support. This guide will walk you through the steps to address unpaid child support effectively.

Understanding Your Child Support Agreement in Illinois

Child support in Illinois is typically determined under an income shares model, which calculates obligations based on the combined income of both parents. This ensures that children maintain a standard of living similar to what they would have experienced if the family were still together.

Mother Putting on Child's Shoes - Child Support - Family Law - Courtney Anderson

Immediate Actions to Take for Unpaid Child Support

  1. Record and Document the Non-Payment: Start by keeping accurate records of all missed payments. Document dates, due amounts, and any attempts to communicate with the non-paying parent about their failure to pay.
  2. Attempt to Communicate Directly: If possible, reach out to the non-paying parent to understand why the payments have stopped. Sometimes, an informal resolution can be achieved without needing to take further legal action.
  3. Consult with a Family Law Attorney: If direct communication doesn’t lead to resolution, it’s advisable to seek legal advice. An attorney experienced in family law can provide guidance on how to proceed with enforcing the child support order. 

Legal Enforcement of Child Support in Illinois

When child support payments are not made, several enforcement mechanisms can be applied:

  • Income Withholding: This is the most common method, where child support is deducted directly from the non-custodial parent’s wages.
  • Contempt of Court: You can file a motion for contempt, which may result in penalties for the non-paying parent, including fines or jail time.
  • Seizure of Assets: The state can seize tax refunds, bank accounts, and other assets to cover unpaid support.
  • License Suspensions: The non-paying parent may have their driver’s license, professional licenses, or passports suspended.

Modifying Child Support Orders

If the non-paying parent is experiencing legitimate financial hardships, they may seek a modification of the child support order. This requires a court review, where they must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the original order. Both parents can request a review for modification if there is a significant change in income, expenses, or other relevant factors.


Navigating the challenge of unpaid child support can be stressful, but understanding your legal rights and options is essential for securing the necessary support for your children. If you are dealing with unpaid child support, don’t hesitate to take action. Early intervention can prevent further complications and ensure that your children receive the support they need.

For more information or to get help with your child support issues, contact me for a consultation today. I am here to support you through this process and help secure the best possible outcomes for your family.