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Illinois spousal support: What if your spouse refuses to pay?

There was a time you believed your marriage would stand the test of time, so much so that you willingly sacrificed your dreams of building a career to raise your child as a stay-at-home parent.

Unfortunately, your marriage eventually breaks down. Now, you’re at the mercy of financial dependence on your ex-partner. But what happens if your ex-partner doesn’t comply with court orders?

Noncompliance penalties

Following the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, spousal maintenance weighs a couple’s circumstances to ensure that whoever has a lower source of income will receive support from the other to maintain their living standards until they’re self-sufficient again.

But if your paying ex-spouse deems the court’s decision unfair, they may refuse to make either monthly or lump sum payments. When this happens, they violate a legally binding spousal maintenance order.

If you have sufficient supporting evidence to prove your claim, they will be in contempt of court with the following repercussions:

  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Garnishment of wages, tax returns and other income streams
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Additional interest to the total award
  • Extension of spousal support duration

Your ex-partner’s court violation may also result in a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment and fines if they intentionally refuse to pay for a minimum of six months and have at least $5,000 in arrears.

Further, they may attempt drastic measures, like leaving the state or the country, and deliberately becoming under- or unemployed. On top of nonpayment for at least a year and at least $20,000 in arrears, these evasive tactics result in a felony charge punishable by significant prison time.

Advocating for your future

Without spousal support, your future may hang in the balance. A legal advocate who understands the urgency of your concerns can collaborate with you in addressing matters about your present and future needs.

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