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The Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act

 Posted on June 29, 2017 in Child Support

Naperville family law attorneyUnder Illinois law, every child has the right to support from his or her parents, regardless of marital situation or whether or not they were born in wedlock. If this support is not paid, the state takes it extremely seriously, because it is a public policy concern to ensure that children within the state are well cared for. The Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act (INSPA) was established to set a procedure in place to punish those parents who fail to comply with that obligation. If you are cited for failure to pay child support, you may face wage garnishment and even criminal charges if the backlog and the failure to pay are egregious enough.

The Offense of Failure to Support

The INSPA was passed in 1999, taking effect in October of that year. It establishes the offense of failure to support, which is a misdemeanor if a first offense, and a class 4 felony if a second or higher, or if the amount owed is significant. The law works both within the state and federal framework, coordinating with the federal Child Support Enforcement Program and those of neighboring states if need be.

The Act also allows for income withholding to be established if a parent is found guilty of failure to support, even if the parent is sentenced to imprisonment. A rebuttable presumption exists that a parent is able to pay their support obligation unless it is shown to the court that they cannot. In other words, it is not possible to plead an inability to pay without showing clear and convincing evidence to back up that contention.

Methods of Collection

Illinois has a settled procedure to follow when past due child support is an issue in a family law case, and it usually begins with wage garnishment. The INSPA allows the federal child support program to act, and usually the first step will be to file an order of income withholding with the paying parent’s employer. Income withholding is exactly what it sounds like—an employer is authorized to withhold part of the supporting parent’s paycheck so that payments may be made on their child support arrearage.

If wage garnishment is not possible, the INSPA allows state and federal authorities to engage in procedures such as intercepting tax refunds or placing liens on assets like property. It also helped to lay the groundwork for the Family Financial Responsibility Act (FFRA), commonly referred to as the “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” program in Illinois. The FFRA suspends or revokes the driver’s licenses of parents who have arrearages of a certain size, which can provide a strong incentive to pay.

Seek Experienced Assistance

Only as a very last resort will the state of Illinois prosecute deadbeat parents, because in some cases, this may result in the loss of a job or professional license, which would lessen the parent’s ability to pay. However, it does happen, and whether your situation merits it or not, consulting a knowledgeable child support attorney can help you decide what to do. The skilled DuPage County child support lawyers at Pesce Law Group, P.C. are happy to help answer your questions. Contact us today to set up a consultation.


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