Chicago is serious about child support. If you ever get someone pregnant, you better be ready to take care of that child. Whether divorced or unmarried, a non-custodial parent (father or mother living away from the child) must provide adequate child support or face dire penalties.
Suppression of Rights and Privileges
If you fail to pay child support for more than 90 days, Illinois can suspend your driver’s license. You can still petition the courts to be allowed to drive, but you will need to apply for SR-22 insurance for your car. SR-22 costs significantly more than your standard car insurance and you will be required to maintain it for three years.
The state can also suspend any professional or occupational license that you have. This can seriously affect your business dealings or employment opportunities. In the most extreme cases, your passport can be revoked, removing your right to travel between countries. Most of these penalties can be reversed once the accumulated dues have been settled.
Cuts on Your Paycheck
Once the Family Services’ Division of Child Support Services (DCCS) comes into the picture, it can directly instruct your employer to set aside a portion of your income. This portion is set aside to cover your child support payments and any other balance left from missed payments in the past. This process can be extremely embarrassing as your transgressions will be in clear view of your employer. Once the balance has been settled, the wage garnishment will stop, but you will still be required to provide regular child support payments as usual.
Forceful Seizure of Assets
DCCS can also enforce various methods to find and seize your hidden assets to pay for your child support obligations. Your bank accounts can be seized, and your properties can be sequestered and sold or held until you settle your debt. Vehicles, jewelry, art collections, and any other valuable items or investments can be seized and used to cover your payments. DCCS has the power to enforce such measures. However, they are required to inform you of their impending actions so that you can respond appropriately.
Fines and Incarceration
Failure to pay court-ordered child support for more than six months or exceeding $5,000 in required payments can warrant criminal prosecution that can lead to hefty fines and jail time. Fines and prison sentences reflect the severity of unpaid, obligatory support. You can get charged with a simple misdemeanor or spend three years in jail if you get charged with a felony. It can seem counterintuitive to send a non-custodial parent to prison and cut-off him off from his livelihood. However, incarceration is only for the most egregious offenders who are capable but unwilling to pay child support.
Overall, Chicago will find ways to make you support your kids. The state can employ various methods to seize your money and make your life miserable until you meet the demands of the court. Take care of your children — or the state will force you to.