When a parent in Illinois fails to live up to his or her obligation to make child support payments on time and in full, there will likely be a pursuit by child support enforcement to collect on the delinquent payments. Many penalties are possible, including the garnishment of wages and even the threat of jail. Some parents who have had legitimate problems preventing them from keeping up with the payments might believe that there will be a sword hanging over them forever with the accompanying stigma of not living up to the most important obligation of adequately caring for a child. There is, however, a way to have the past due child support removed from the record through the “Clean Slate” program.
The Clean Slate program is a way for a parent to have past due child support that is owed to the state removed. The parent is required to make regular payments of support once the program is completed. An application must be completed and there must be proof that the payments were not made for a particular reason. These reasons include the person being unemployed, incarcerated or suffering from a serious illness that prevented them from making the payments. Also, the parent must show evidence of his or her current income.
A person who qualifies is required to make child support payments for six months. Once this is completed, the debt owed to the state will be removed. If there are past due payments to the custodial parent, as opposed to the state, these must still be paid. The proof of hardship or inability to pay must be in the form of a letter from the former employer, discharge papers from prison, a doctor’s statement stating the disability or illness or a statement of earnings provided by the Social Security Administration. If the person loses a job during this process, it is possible for the agreement to be suspended. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
There are a number of reasons why a person might not be able to keep up with child support payments and, in many instances, it is not a willful act not to pay. For a person who has suffered job loss or some other problem that stopped them from paying and they would like to clear their record for delinquency, a legal professional can provide assistance with pursuing this program.
Source: Illinois.gov, “Clean Slate Program — A Child Support Debt Reduction Program,” accessed on Sept. 27, 2016