The holiday season is when parents’ budgets don’t seem to ever stretch far enough to make the experience memorable for children. This can be especially problematic for parents going through a divorce in Illinois, as well as for custodial parents who do not receive consistent child support payments from the other parent. For those who receive support, seeking additional money for gifts can be like pulling teeth. For those who receive inconsistent payments, there is no guarantee that any money will come in for the holidays.
The lack of adequate support often leads to contentious battles over parenting time and continuous rounds of blame. Despite how frustrating receiving less than the full amount of support can be, there are several things parents can to manage the situation.
Don’t withhold parenting time – There may be an inclination to limit parenting time for a parent who is chronically late on payments, but this may be a mistake that can lead to dire consequences. Child support and parenting time are separate issues for a court to decide, and it may not reflect well on you to take a “pay to play” approach. Besides, a parent who consistently sees a child is more likely to stay on top of support payments.
See if the State’s Attorney is involved – Before hiring a private lawyer to pursue a child support action, it is worth finding out if the State’s Attorney has already established a case. There are criminal and administrative penalties that the state can seek (i.e. suspending driving or professional licenses, seeking jail time), and it does not call for you to pay a retainer fee.
Source: DailyFinance.com, “What to do if your ex won’t (or can’t) pay child support,” Geoff Williams, November 21, 2013