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When can a person be charged with failure to pay spousal support?

One of the most difficult issues to navigate in an Illinois divorce is how much a supporting spouse must pay to the other spouse. Often, these situations can become contentious with the spouse obligated and ordered to pay child support failing to do so. It is illegal to flout the order to pay support. When there is an issue making the payments or a supported spouse is not receiving what he or she is supposed to, the person who is failing to pay can be charged with failure to support. It is important to understand the circumstances under which a person can be charged with this offense.

When there is a willful and unexcused refusal to provide the ordered support to a former spouse amid the knowledge that the spouse needs the support or there is a desertion or willful refusal to provide the support for children, it is against the law. A willful failure to pay support when it is required through a court or administrative order and it has not been paid for more than six months or the person is behind by more than $5,000 while he or she is able to provide that support will be charged.

Some people obligated to pay spousal support flee the state to evade their responsibility to make the payments. If this happens and the support is unpaid for more than six months or the person is in arrears for more than $10,000, it is against the law. Finally, if there is a willful failure to pay the support and it has been unpaid for more than one year or the person is behind by more than $20,000 and can pay it, it is an offense.

The penalties vary depending on the circumstances. People who are ordered to pay support to a former spouse are expected to do so. The supported spouse should have legal assistance in trying to get the payments. So too should the paying spouse have legal assistance if there are allegations that the payments are not being made or the situation has made it difficult for them to pay and they are seeking a modification. For any issue related to spousal support, a law firm experienced in Illinois family law can help.

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