“My ex isn’t complying with the provisions of our Divorce Decree concerning child and spousal support. What are my options?”
You should request immediate compliance and, if necessary, contact your attorney to begin legal enforcement proceedings. If you are an Illinois resident and you have an order of support or a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage that provides for the payment of child support, maintenance, or both, then you have substantial enforcement rights under the law.
It’s a good idea to keep accurate records of all support payments as they are received, and keep a record of all late or missed payments of support. These records will be useful in your legal proceeding to enforce the payments, collect past due payments, or both.
If your ex-spouse is late or misses a payment, promptly notify the person in a reasonable manner. You should initiate a courteous telephone call to your ex with a gentle reminder that the payment is due, and then follow it up with a written request for payment. These simple actions will let your ex know that you are keeping track of the payments, and your efforts will show a Judge in the future that you have done your part to assert your rights and seek compliance.
If your ex-spouse continues to fail to make required payments, or is in arrears for past due payments, contact an attorney to begin the legal procedures necessary to invoke the enforcement powers of the court. You may contact the attorney who handled your divorce case (or another domestic relations attorney of your choice) to initiate an enforcement proceeding, or contact the Illinois State’s Attorneys office for advice or possible legal representation. Your remedies may include enforcement against the property of the ex-spouse as well as enforcement against your ex directly through contempt proceedings. A successful contempt proceeding may conclude with the imprisonment of your ex-spouse for contempt of court.
The specifics of these and other remedies should be discussed with a qualified Illinois Family Law Attorney.
Steven D. Gerage, J.D., practices family law including divorce, financial, and child custody litigation with Rinella and Rinella in Chicago. He also devotes his practice to negotiating and drafting premarital, postnuptial, and marital settlement agreements.