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What is Child Support and when does it occur in Illinois?

In Illinois, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for providing guidelines that determine and enforce child support from non-custodial parents after divorce, separation, or marriage dissolution. Also, the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (ILSDU) is responsible for processing child support payments to custodial parents.

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  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

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What is Illinois Child Support?

According to Chapter 750, Section 5/505 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS), child support is the amount of money that a non-custodial parent must pay to provide for the fair and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the minor.

What Does Child Support Cover in Illinois?

Under Illinois' child support guidelines, child support payments must cover every basic need of the minor who is under 18 years or 19 years but still attending high school. However, child support ceases when a child becomes emancipated. Generally, child support covers:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Health insurance and other medical costs
  • Visitation costs
  • Childcare and babysitting costs
  • Tuition and educational costs (at the court's discretion)

What is the Average Child Support Payment in Illinois?

Illinois courts use a shared income model to calculate child support after weighing several factors. Generally, the presiding judge calculates child support based on the gross income of the parents, number of children, age of the child(ren), the child's physical and emotional needs, the child's standard of living before marriage dissolution, etc. Interested individuals may estimate potential payment by using the Child Support Estimator. The average yearly child support payment is $14,328 on a per capita state personal income of $52,808.

How do I apply for Child Support in Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) provides systematic instructions for individuals who wish to apply for child support. Generally, the applicant must contact the HFS at (800) 447-4278 to provide the IV-D application form, an affidavit of income and expenses, and other relevant documents. Alternatively, the applicant may download all necessary documents. Then, the applicant must mail the completed IV-D application and other related documents to the nearest regional office in Illinois.

Upon receipt, the HFS application will process the application and respond with an intake appointment letter regarding the date, time, and location of an interview, as well as the documents that the applicant must provide. At the appointment, a child support agent will assist the applicant to file a petition for child support via administrative or court process.

What do I need to bring to the appointment?

  • Current address of the non-custodial parent
  • Employment details on the non-custodial parent
  • Social security number of the non-custodial parent
  • Birth information of the non-custodial parent
  • A recent photograph of the non-custodial parent
  • Applicant's Social Security ID
  • Child's Social Security ID
  • Child's birth certificate
  • Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity
  • Court order regarding paternity (if applicable)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Divorce Decree or separation agreement
  • Court order regarding child custody
  • Orders of Protection
  • Administrative order of paternity
  • Administrative order child support
  • Proof of special medical needs of the child
  • Details of child support payments received directly from the non-custodial parent
  • Other relevant documents

How do I Get out of Paying Child Support in Illinois?

Chapter 750, Section 5/510(a) of Illinois Consolidated Law makes provisions for a non-custodial parent to seek the modification of child support payment. Typically, the petitioner must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that has made payment difficult, impossible, or unnecessary. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Change in Custody or Parenting Schedule
  • Emancipation of the child
  • Deterioration in the health of the petitioner
  • An unsustainable increase in child's needs
  • Special needs of the child
  • Unemployment or involuntary decrease in income
  • A self-imposed or voluntary decrease in income (the petitioner must demonstrate that this was done in good faith)
  • Educational or Investment to improve the petitioner's prospects (must also demonstrate good faith)

Under Illinois law, the court will NOT recognize an out-of-court agreement to reduce, modify, or cease child support payment, even if both parties mutually agree to it. However, there are certain exceptions – in which case both parties must convince the court. Furthermore, in some cases, the court will not grant a petition to modify or cease child support on a retroactive basis, even if the petitioner demonstrates a change in circumstances. Thus, to get out child support legally, the petitioner must consult a specialized attorney.

What is Back Child Support in Illinois?

Back Child Support is the amount that a non-custodial parent has missed or refused to pay when they are legally obligated to do so.

How do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Illinois?

In Illinois, custodian parents have the legal right to request back child support in full by filing an Order for Support with the Clerk of Circuit Court. The Income Withholding for Support Act makes provisions for this action. Once the petitioner obtains the order, the Department of Health and Family Services may enforce back child support through:

  • Income Withholding: Child Support Services will work with the noncustodial parent's employer to withhold child support payments from their paycheck.
  • Tax Refund or Benefit Interception: Child Support Services may enforce payment by deducting the amount owed from any government payments including tax refunds, social security checks, lottery winnings, etc.
  • Credit Report: Child Support Services will include all outstanding payments in the non-custodian parent's credit report.
  • Liens and Attachments: Child Support Services may enforce payment by placing a lien on the non-custodial parent's property including real estate, cars, and bank accounts. In this case, the non-custodial parent cannot sell the property without paying back child support.
  • Passport Denial: Child Support Services may enforce payment by denying a passport application by the non-custodial parent. The denial will remain as long as the child support remains unpaid.
  • License Suspension: Child Support Services may enforce payment by suspending the non-custodian parent's license, especially if the license is required to work. E.g. occupational license, hunting license, driver's license, etc.
  • Criminal Prosecution and Jail Time: This is the last resort and least common approach used by Child Support Services to enforce the payment of back child support.

Is there a Statute of Limitation on Child Support in Illinois?

It depends. According to 735 ILCS 5/12-108, there is no statute of limitations on child support after July 1997. However, there is a statute of limitations of 20 years on child support after 1997. Thus, child support judgments that have expired are unenforceable.

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