Enforcement of Divorce and Child Support Orders in Illinois

Posted on in Divorce

People may behave irrationally in an acrimonious divorce, willfully disregarding court-mandated child support or spousal support. Reasons may involve wild recriminations or appeals to a misguided sense of justice separate from the judicial system. Make no mistake, though—the law is the law. When an Illinois court enters a divorce decree into court records, it is the last word on the subject, barring a judge’s formal legal modification. When a former spouse refuses to comply with their court-ordered child or spousal support obligations, the power of the law may be used to enforce the divorce decree and impose penalties for non-compliance.

Fault Is Not a Basis for Refusing to Comply with a Divorce Order

If, when refusing to pay court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance, your former spouse attempts to cast blame, remember that Illinois is a “no-fault” state in matters of divorce. The court that has already awarded child or spousal support is of course already fully aware of this fact, so it is doubly beside the point to attempt to evade an order by engaging in informal relitigation.

After the divorce has been finalized, each party has a legal obligation to abide by the terms and conditions of the decree, including the allocation of parental responsibility and the payment of child support and, when applicable, spousal support. When there has been a legitimate and provable change in either party’s circumstances, formal petitions pleading for modification of the divorce decree may be filed. Again, however, neither party may unilaterally refuse to comply with the court’s original decree absent an official ruling on a formal petition for modification.

Whatever your ex-spouse’s argument, he or she must abide by the court’s decree. If he or she refuses to do so, consult with an experienced attorney to learn about your options for enforcement.

Common Post-Decree Enforcement Actions

There are five common reasons for undertaking a post-decree enforcement action:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to pay spousal support
  • Failure to meet requirements for the allocation of parental responsibility
  • Failure to provide parenting time or visitation
  • Failure to distribute marital assets

Neglecting court-ordered terms regarding any of the above-listed areas may result in the non-compliant spouse being found in contempt of court—a serious violation justifying serious penalties.

Contact a Skilled Divorce Lawyer

If your former spouse is refusing to comply with the terms and conditions of a divorce decree, you have options for legal enforcement. At the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC, we can help you understand your rights and work with you to ensure that your ex-spouse meets their court-ordered obligations. Contact a Wheaton divorce attorney at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.