There is a little-known law in Illinois (750 ILCS 5/706.1 (E)) that allows a court to assess a penalty against employers who do not remit payments of child support on time. In Illinois, fathers (or mothers as the case may be) who must pay child support are required to have this child support withheld from their paychecks and forwarded to the custodial parent within seven business days after the money is withheld.
Let me tell you about the problem of this one-man corporation that decided to take a shortcut with the law. Let's call this one-man corporation, “Mobil Man Cellular, Inc.” Mobil Man was required to collect $175.00 each week in child support from Tom Terrific’s paycheck. Mobil Man was required under Illinois law to remit these withheld amounts to Tom’s former wife, Sheila. Mobil Man, who did not excel in bookkeeping, remitted these child support payments at the end of each month to Sheila, once every 4 weeks, and lumped 4 payments together by sending Sheila one check for $700.00 ($175.00 x 4). One year later, Sheila (who was shy) decided to contact a lawyer and do something about her tardy child support payments. Sheila learned that, when an employer fails to send child support to mom within seven business days after it has been collected, the employer is liable for payment of a mandatory penalty in the amount of $100.00 for each day the payment is late.
The purpose of this provision is to eliminate the substantial burden on a mom who might be forced to postpone purchasing essentials for her child such as food, medicine, clothes, or payment of other important bills. The Illinois statute does not require the mom to notify the employer of this penalty provision. The employer is responsible for understanding its obligations under the child support law once it receives an Order for Withholding that has been signed by the court.
In the example above, Mobil Man had been three weeks late with the first weekly child support payment every month for twelve months. Mobil Man’s penalty for one year of remitting payments late to Sheila amounted to $25,200.00! The first payment in each of the twelve months was 21 days late. 21 days x 12 months = 252. 252 x $100.00 per day = $25,200.00.
One Appellate Court in Illinois was unsympathetic towards a small employer that had accumulated a $12,000.00 penalty for remitting child support payments late. The Appellate Court stated, “an employer defendant cannot be heard to complain about hardship to itself caused by payment of a penalty to a plaintiff where that employer defendant’s non-compliance with a court order caused hardship on the plaintiff.” The Appellate Court also stated, “The fact the penalty may in some instances be a ‘windfall’ for a plaintiff is irrelevant because the penalty will serve to compensate the plaintiff for any hardship and will deter future non-compliance by the employer.”
All custodial parents should be aware that they are entitled to receive child support within seven business days after it is collected from the non-custodial parent’s income. Also, employers who have the responsibility of withholding child support payments from their employees’ pay should always remit child support payments to the intended recipient on time!
Contact the Law Offices of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. for your divorce attorney needs.