Illinois Court Rejects Lake County Mother’s Child Support Garnishment Case

The Supreme Court of Illinois recently rejected a Lake County mother’s attempts at garnishing her ex-husband’s paycheck for child support.

The case involves a woman named Jennifer Schultz. She filed a complaint in Lake County circuit court against Performance Lighting, Inc., her husband’s employer. The woman wanted to recover the $100 statutory penalty from the company for failing to withhold child support from her ex-husband’s paychecks.

Child support wage garnishment is a process that demands strict adherence to statutory requirements. One of the requirements under Illinois’s Income Withholding for Support Act is that a child support order needs to contain the name and social security number of the person whose wages are to be garnished.

In this case, the employer ignored the mother’s request for wage garnishments because she failed to include her ex-husband’s social security number in her notice of withholding. Moreover a “Uniform Order for Support” issued by a district court also did not include the social security number or name of the husband.

The Supreme Court of Illinois found that the lack of the social security number rendered the notice of withholding invalid. The justices were disturbed by the fact that the employer did not call the mother to inform her that the notice was invalid, and that the mother’s attorney did not take further action, despite her not receiving any child support for two years.

Regardless, the court noted that the employer was not legally obligated to contact the mother and that her attorney’s lack of follow-through did not excuse her failure to properly give withholding notice.

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