When there is an order for a former spouse to pay spousal support, a parent to pay child support or both in Illinois, it is a legal obligation for the supporting spouse to make the payments on time and in full. When these payments are not made, there is the likelihood that a non-paying spouse or parent will face charges of failure to support. Understanding the law and when there will be a failure to support charge is critical to dealing with these family legal issues.
If a person does not make the spousal support payments in a willful manner and does not have a lawful excuse for not doing so while knowing that the spouse needs the support or the paying spouse commits desertion or refuses to pay child support when the child needs it and the person is able to pay, it is a violation of this law. If the supporting former spouse or supporting parent has a court or administrative order to pay support and it is unpaid for more than six months or the parent is in arrears for more than $5,000 with the capability of paying, it is a violation.
Parents who depart from the state intending to evade a support obligation and it has not been paid for more than six months or is in arrears for more than $10,000 will be charged with failure to support. A parent who does not pay the support and it has been unpaid for more than one year or the parent is in arrears for more than $20,000 with the parent having the capability of paying will be charged.
Depending on which section of the law was violated, there can be a variety of penalties that range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. There can also be fines assessed. It is advisable for parents who owe support of any kind to make the payments when they are due and pay in full. However, it is not uncommon for problems to arise. Perhaps a modification could be in order or there are other methods to help a struggling parent through the difficult time without adding legal violations and the threat of penalties to it. A parent who is supposed to be receiving support will also need legal help in these situations. A law firm that is experienced in all aspects of family law should be contacted for advice and help in a failure to support case in which charges are possible.