Husband was ordered to pay child support. His employer, the McHenry County conservation district, was ordered to withhold the money from Husband’s paycheck. Then, it was to forward the payments to Wife.

The Income Withholding for Support Act has penalties if employers do not process the payments properly.  This employer did not process the child support payments for five of Husband’s paychecks.  This was over two and one=half years. It amounted to 4,077 violations.  Wife filed a Petition against the Conservation District.

She asked for back child support of $1,086.90.  Also, a statutory penalty that grew to $407,700. That is a $100 per day penalty for each violation. The court ordered a $10,000 penalty for each of the five violations. Husband appealed.

The Appellate Court said that the Conservation District is a public entity.  It is immune from the penalties.  For failing to properly withhold child support payments from employees’ paychecks.   Under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act), 745 ILCS 10/1-101, et seq.

The Appellate Court held there is a purpose of the Tort Immunity Act. It is to prevent public funds from being diverted from their intended purpose.  To prevent local governments from the payment of damages.  By not holding taxpayers responsible for the agency’s violation of the law.

If the employer had not been a public agency, the employer would not have been off the hook for a violation. Employers are responsible if they don’t follow the Withholding Order.

In re Marriage of Murray, 2014 IL App (2d) 121253.

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