Illinois state laws and federal laws consider child support delinquency a serious offense. Although most child support matters are governed by Illinois law, certain exceptions fall under the purview of federal child support enforcement laws. Therefore, in consideration of the importance of child support, Title IV Part-D of the Social Security Act requires its operational agencies to help state agencies, custodial parents and others to enforce a child support order.
The history of federal laws mandating child support collection dates back to the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992. The act was passed to deter non-custodial parents from missing payments and to prosecute more serious. However, authorities soon realized that misdemeanor penalties were often not adequate to deter the most serious instances of child support delinquency. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 introduced new provisions under which child support delinquency would be considered a felony.
Currently it is illegal for a non-custodial parent to willfully default on child support payments. Clearly defined circumstances exist under which an owing parent can face federal prosecution. Criminal charges for child support delinquency range from misdemeanor to felony depending on the gravity of the offense.
A non-custodial parent can face misdemeanor charges for failing to comply with child support orders for a child living in another state. If a non-custodial parent does not pay due child support for more than one year or if the amount owed exceeds $5,000, that person faces misdemeanor charges. Under the same set of circumstances, if a non-custodial parent willfully fails to pay child support for more than two years or if the amount in arrears exceeds $10,000, that parent faces felony charges. Besides significant fines, penalties include up to six months in jail for a misdemeanor and up to two years in jail for a felony.
Another important concern that federal laws address is if a delinquent parent tries to disappear. According to federal laws, it is illegal for non-custodial parents with child support obligations to exit his or her resident state or leave the country in order to avoid paying child support when that outstanding amount is more than $5,000 or payments have not been made for more than one year. Conviction can result in fines and up to two years in prison.
Source: Justice.gov, “Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Support Enforcement,” accessed on Feb. 10, 2015