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Better to Get Your Support Order Late Than Never!

By Nottage and Ward on October 25, 2019

Recently, ABC 10 News reported on the case of a San Diego woman, Toni Anderson, who won back child support from her ex-husband nearly 50 years after their divorce. She filed a claim for what she was owed, plus interest, when she realized there is no statute of limitations on child support. Ms. Anderson wants to spread the word to other single parents that they can still collect child support, no matter how many years have gone by.

If your ex-spouse or your child’s other parent owes you child support, our Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP, can help. Call us at (312) 332-2915 to schedule a consultation. We have more than 25 years of experience, and family law is all we do.

Interest on Child Support Can Add Up after 50 Years

The article states that Ms. Anderson’s husband fled to Canada in the early 1970s to avoid paying court-ordered child support, leaving her with a 3-year-old daughter to raise on her own. At the time, his payments were approximately $160 a month. Now, however, with accrued interest, back child support that would have totaled $30,000 amounts to more than $170,000. After a private hearing in a California court, the case was settled for $150,000.

When Can You Collect Back Child Support?

If you have a court order that says you are due child support, but your ex stopped paying or never paid at all, you can go to court to enforce the order. The recipient parent is the one who must petition the court, not the adult child whom the court-ordered payments were meant to support. In Illinois, child support extends beyond when the child turns 18 if the child is still in high school.

Proving How Much Child Support Is Owed

You will need to show the court how much child support is owed. If payments were to be made through the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (SDU), the unit can provide a list of payments made and the amount owed. If support was to be paid through the circuit clerk’s office, that office can provide the same information. If child support payments were to be made directly to you, the court will need to review various records to determine if child support payments were made. Generally, those records would need to be shown by the payor to evidence proof of payments.

How Can a Chicago Divorce Lawyer Help You Collect Child Support?

Our experienced family law attorneys can represent you in your petition to the court to enforce the order to pay child support. With the authorization of the court, we can take action to help you collect back child support you are owed.

Garnishing the Non-Paying Parent’s Wages

Our Chicago divorce lawyers can send a “Notice to Withhold Income for Support” to your ex’s employer, to garnish the deadbeat parent’s wages. The employer is required to withhold the stated amount from the non-paying parent’s paycheck and send it to SDU, which will then send the child support money to you. The notice will state the amount of time over which child support payments were missed, how much is owed up to the date of the notice, and how much the non-paying parent must pay to make up missed child support. Other collection remedies may also be available, depending on the specific facts of your case.

Rule to Show Cause

We can ask the court to hold the other parent in contempt with a “Petition for a Rule to Show Cause.” The non-paying parent must show the court that he or she had a good reason for not paying. If the parent has a history of nonpayment, the judge will likely set a specific amount that must be paid by a certain date, or the parent could go to jail.

At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we focus our practice exclusively on family law matters. Contact us for dedicated legal assistance in collecting child support.

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