Back Child Support: What Happens When A Non-Paying Parent Dies?

Fighting to receive back child support is hard work, and a custodial parent may struggle to obtain the support his or her children are owed. Moreover, payments may be late for several reasons: a paying parent may be struggling financially, or he or she may blatantly refuse to fulfill the court-mandated responsibility.

However, when a parent who is supposed to be paying support passes away, it does not undo the fact that the other parent is owed back child support. Still, in this situation, what is the custodial parent supposed to do? Does a parent have any recourse to get the support to which he or she is entitled?

Family Law Overlaps with Probate Law

Generally, issues regarding child support in Illinois are governed by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and the Marriage Act. But, there are times when other areas of law come into a family law discussion. When a parents dies, and back child support is owed, probate law comes into play along with family court laws.

Interestingly, under Illinois law, an existing obligation to pay child support is not terminated by the death of a parent. Hence, the surviving parent can make claims against the estate for support for the children in the future. Depending upon the equities of the particular situation, support can be paid in a lump sum by the estate or in payments. Moreover, the surviving parent can make a claim against the estate for back support that is owed. In doing so, however, he or she has to follow the rules of the Probate Act.

Probate Act Creates Time Limits

According to the Marriage Act, claims for back support, also called arrearages, are governed by the Probate Act. The Probate Act contains a time limit. If a surviving parent does not make a claim against the estate for the back child support within two years of the deceased parent’s death, then his or her claim is forever lost. This means that time is of the essence when it comes to exercising these rights on behalf of you and your child or children who need the support.

Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.

Whether you are fighting to get the child support to which you are entitled, or are fighting an unjust and unfair order to pay such support, an experienced Illinois child support attorney can help. Contact Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676. When you call, we will schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your situation and determine how we can help.