The court can order, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, that child support be paid directly out of the payer’s check, then through the State Disbursement Unit, and then to the recipient. In many cases, this is the best way to pay child support anyway, because you guarantee that you are going to make the payment if you’re working, and that you have a record of the payment, and that you don’t have to do it directly to your ex-spouse but rather let the system, on the back end, through the withholding and through the State Disbursement Unit, pay the support.
The only time that the court will allow the parties to pay directly to one another is if the parties have an agreement that states that they want it to happen this way. If I represent the recipient, I always want the money to come out of the payer’s paycheck, through the State Disbursement Unit, and then to my client. The reason for this is I don’t have to hear my client call, saying he or she “is not paying me the voluntary support agreed to in the judgment.” The only thing I can hear is that he or she “is no longer working at the place, and therefore the money is not flowing anymore to me.” It’s much better to have the money come directly out of the check, because you know as long as that party is working; you are going to receive your support.
For these reasons, the court encourages that the money be paid directly through an Order of Withholding as opposed to voluntarily from one spouse to the other. The best advice I can give a payer is also to have the money come directly out of the check, provided it’s possible to do so. The reason for this is that, one, it takes away the obligation to meet or send anything to the ex-spouse, and two, you allow for a record-keeping through the State Disbursement Unit, where they keep track of how much was paid, when it was paid, and you can prevent being brought back into court on some sort of Rule to Show Cause, why you should be held in contempt for failure to pay child support or for failure to pay the proper amount of child support on a timely basis.