Child with money in jarThis is the next post in my series on Peoria, Illinois cases which involve unpaid child support. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and stressed the need to contact a fathers’ rights attorney if you are a dad who has fallen behind on his payments. It is important to speak with counsel immediately so that you can prevent the issue from becoming an even larger legal problem. In this post I will discuss another important subject – the contempt process one potentially faces for falling behind on child support. If you are a father who needs assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

An order to pay child support is no different than any other mandate issued by a Family Court Judge. A person can be held in Contempt of Court for failing to follow such an order. The penalties for contempt can include incarceration, being required to pay the other side’s legal fees, and still being required to pay any back child support upon release from incarceration. Furthermore, the Court will have likely applied interest to the unpaid support which would increase the total amount of arrears. Unpaid child support can, therefore, present significant legal problems for a father.

The contempt process begins when the unpaid party files a Motion with the Court. The Court will schedule a hearing and determine whether an “Order to Show Cause” should be issued. The Court will almost certainly issue the Show Cause order if the Judge finds that support has not been paid and that there is no arrangement in place for the arrears to be caught up. The offending parent will then appear for a subsequent hearing and will have to show good cause as to why they should not be found in contempt. If they fail to show good cause the the Court has discretion to impose the penalties described above.

I cannot stress enough that if you are falling behind on your Court ordered payments then you should speak with an attorney immediately. If your circumstances have changed, and now warrant a lower payment, then counsel can immediately file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the Court. If the Motion is granted then the Court will often retroactively apply the lower payment requirement to the date on which the Motion was filed. This can help a father from falling further into arrears.

As a Peoria fathers’ rights lawyer I am able to assist in matters involving unpaid child support. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.