Earlier this year, a post on this blog looked closely at a ruling by a Cook County judge that levied what was thought to be the largest child support-related fine in the history of the state against a Herscher car dealership. The story took many in the region by surprise but highlighted the important role that employers are expected to play in ensuring that child support payments are properly made each month. Now, it seems that the dealership will not be required to pay the full fine, as both sides have agreed to an out-of-court settlement, the financial terms of which have not been disclosed to the public.
In April of 2016, Judge Bonita Coleman determined that Country Chevrolet failed to withhold ordered child support payments from the paychecks of an employee. Dealership management claimed that the man in question was not an employee but an independent contractor so the state laws regarding child support withholding were inapplicable in this case. The court disagreed, ordered back payment of approximately $8,000 in child support, and issued a statutory fine of $100 per day for each missed payment, bringing the total fine to almost $2.3 million.
Following the ruling, the dealership was expected to file an appeal, but a settlement was reached before the appeal ever made it back to the courtroom. Attorneys for the woman who should have received the initial child support payments say that they are happy to have a resolution that is “in everyone’s best interests.”
The Importance of Employer Withholding
For an overwhelming majority of parents who have been ordered to pay child support, their payments are made each month through income withholding by their employers. Such a system has many benefits and, when handled correctly, very few drawbacks. Supporting parents no longer need to worry about mailing in a payment each month or forgetting due dates. When payments are withheld, it also makes child support a top priority; a supporting parent cannot spend the money on something else.
Employers and, by extension, the payroll companies they hire to manage employee wages and withholdings are usually very reliable. They receive an order for withholding and begin making appropriate payments until they receive an order modifying or terminating the requirement. Actions undertaken by employers to avoid statutory fines and penalties such as those alleged in the Cook County car dealership case are rare, but they do happen on occasion.
Child Support Enforcement Help
If you are supposed to be receiving child support payments but are not for whatever reason, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. We will help you track down the source of the problem and work with you in getting the support to which the law says you are entitled. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.