Court ruling could spur increased enforcement of past-due child support

By Rachel D.S. Schmidt

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

Illinois and other states may be increasing their efforts to collect past-due child support following a ruling from the Illinois Supreme Court.

In a dispute over child support arrears between a man and his ex-wife, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that interest on child support arrearage accrued after 1987 is mandatory.

A past-due support obligation in Illinois draws interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of the judgment until satisfied. Given this ruling and the additional interest to be collected, efforts by Illinois to obtain such monies may be increased.

Therefore, any individual that has a long due support obligation in Illinois should consult an experienced attorney to promptly assess any possible options. Individuals in other states may want to contact an attorney as other states may have similar issues.

On Jan. 21, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services ex rel. Margaret Wiszowaty  v. Mark Wiszowaty that interest on child support arrearage accrued after 1987 is mandatory.

In the Wiszowaty matter, the parties were divorced in 1991 and the husband, Mark, was ordered to pay $48 a week in support. Mark paid support in 1991 but then paid no support from 1992 through 2005.

Mark conceded that interest on the unpaid support obligation after 2000 was mandatory due to legislation passed in 2000.

However, his argument was that interest on the unpaid support obligation prior to 2000 was at the discretion of the trial court and that the circumstances of his case did not warrant imposing interest. The Department of Healthcare asked that interest accrue from the first missed payment in 1991.

The Illinois Supreme Court agreed with the Department of Healthcare, and held that past-due child support payments began to bear mandatory interest beginning May 1, 1987, with the passing of new legislation. Therefore, the interest on Mark’s child support began to accrue with his first missed payment in 1991.

Again, any husbands and fathers who owe back child support, especially in Illinois, should immediately consult with a qualified family law attorney in your area to assess your options.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.


mens divorce lawyerRachel D.S. Schmidt is a Senior Attorney in the Edwardsville, Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Schmidt is admitted to practice law Illinois and Missouri as well as in the Southern and Northern Districts of Illinois and the Eastern District of Missouri. Ms. Schmidt received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1999, from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, where she graduated summa cum laude. She received her Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law in 2002, where she was an editor of the Public Law Review.

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