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So called "Deadbeat Dad" laws -- which also apply to Deadbeat Moms -- are meant to punish noncustodial parents for failing to pay ordered child support. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has a number of enforcement techniques to get these parents to pay the money they owe. The department also can assist custodial parents in collecting the child support their children are owed. Custodial parents can apply for services at their local offices.
Automatic Income Withholding
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services uses the federal New Hire Program that requires Illinois employers to file a new-hire report to identify employees who have recently acquired employment with them. The employer is required to file this report within 20 days of any new hire. The report includes the new employee's name, address and Social Security number. The report originally goes to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, but it is then shared with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. If the employee pays child support, this department sends an Order to Withhold Income for Child Support to the employer. The employer is then required to deduct the amount of child support noted on the order from the noncustodial parent's wages and send them to the state's disbursement unit.
Driver's License Suspension
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services can petition the Illinois Secretary of State's office to suspend the driver's license of anyone who is more than 90 days behind on child support. A family court judge can also suspend a noncustodial parent's driver's license.
Contempt of Court
A noncustodial parent can be found in contempt of court if he is proven to have intentionally violated the court's order. If the judge finds him in contempt of court, he can order that a certain amount of the back child support be paid by a certain date. Otherwise, he can be sent to jail.
Publication of Debt
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services can request that the delinquent child support be included on the noncustodial parent's credit report. Additionally, the department includes a current list of deadbeat parents on its website along with the amount that the parent owes.
Statute of Limitations
The state of Illinois does not have a statute of limitations regarding the collection of back child support at the time of publication. The last statute of limitations on the books regarding back child support was on July 1, 1997, which limited collection of child support judgments to 20 years after the child turned 18. Therefore, any such judgments that expired before this date cannot be enforced under the previous law.
"Deadbeat Dad" laws pertain to fathers who shirk their obligations to pay child support, but Indiana's laws regarding enforcement of overdue support apply equally to men and women. Understanding these laws can help custodial parents who want to collect past due support and might possibly help prevent noncustodial parents from falling behind with their payments.
Child Support Obligations
Both parents are responsible for economically providing for their children in Indiana. The state's legislature bases its child support laws on the idea that children should receive the same proportion of parental income after a divorce as they would have if their parents had remained together. The amount of child support is determined by:
- Adding together the parents' gross incomes and determining each parent's share of the total income.
- Comparing the total with the Indiana Child Support Guidelines to determine the total cost of supporting the child.
- Adding the weekly cost of health insurance premiums and work-related child care expenses to the total cost of support.
- Prorating the child support obligation between the parents based on their proportionate share of the weekly adjusted income.
Opening a Case
A custodial parent can open a child support case by contacting the Department of Child Services Child Support Bureau and filling out an application. A case might automatically be referred to this agency if the custodial parent or child is receiving public assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Medicaid. The agency represents the child's best interests, not those of the custodial or noncustodial parent.
The Department can petition the court to hold a parent in contempt of court, possibly resulting in jail time of up to 180 days.
The Department does not have to go through all the usual steps that other creditors must in order to garnish a parent's wages. It sends an automatic income withholding order to an employer in all child support cases, even when there are no arrears. The employer then sends the appropriate amount of child support from the noncustodial parent's paycheck to the Department.
Non-payment of child support can result in suspension of an Indiana resident's driver's license or professional license.
Interception of Funds
If the noncustodial parent is expecting a lump-sum payment, such as lottery winnings or a tax refund, the Department can intercept these funds.
Another enforcement measure involves placing liens against a noncustodial parent's property. He can't legally sell the item without first paying off the ien.
Indiana publicly posts pictures and names of child support evaders on its Department of Child Services website.
The indiana laws have statutes of limitations. A custodial parent has up to 10 years after the child turns 18 or is emancipated to collect past due support in Indiana. If the custodial parent receives a judgment against the noncustodial parent, she has 20 years to collect.
Orders for Support
Under Pennsylvania law, in order for a father to be held to an obligation to pay support, an order of support for a minor child must first be issued. A uniform order of support may be issued directly a Pennsylvania family court of jurisdiction or through order of a magistrate through a designated office of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Resources Division of Child Support Enforcement. The amount of support ordered is determined by the income of both parents and the number of children that are subject to support.
Means of Collection
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania permits a variety of methods to be used in the collection of court mandated child support orders. Under Pennsylvania law, the father or designated payer may have his income tax returns intercepted, wages garnished and driver's license suspended should an order for support go unpaid for longer than three months. In addition, liens may be applied against the payer's property, applications for the issuance of passports will be denied and reports of delinquency may be reported to national credit bureau reports until the payer brings current in full the amount owed in arrears.
The most serious sanctions, which may be applied under Pennsylvania law for willful refusal to pay a court mandated order of support, include the pursuance of criminal charges for criminal non-support and contempt of court. Pennsylvania Code Rule 1910.25-5 mandates that any individual who willfully refuses to abide by a court order to pay child support in accordance with the court's terms, although otherwise able to do so, may be jailed for contempt of court and criminal non-support for a period of time as deemed appropriate by the court.
Affect on Parental Rights
In addition to criminal and civil sanctions, willfully refusing to provide support for his minor child may lead to a termination of a father's parental rights as permitted under Pennsylvania state law. In order for a father's rights to be terminated as a result of non-support, the court must determine through clear and convincing evidence that the refusal of the father to provide financial support for the child is indicative of lack of regard or concern for the child's security and well-being. In that case, terminating the father's rights is therefore in the best interests of the child.