Children require the emotional and financial support of both parents for them to live a decent life. When families split and the children are being raised by a single parent, there will likely be a sharp drop in the standard of living. For this reason, child support laws exist, so that the cost of raising children is borne by both parents. Child support payments are regular monthly payments ordered by a court which a noncustodial parent gives to their custodial partner as a contribution towards the children’s upbringing. This article will give information about child support in Illinois.
Child Support Process After Divorce
Child support services in Illinois are administered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Custodial parents in the state who wish to apply for child support services can visit https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/csassist/Pages/csappIVD.aspx to fill the application form. Details required in the form include name, address, social security number, name of the other parent, their last known address, etc. The information provided about the noncustodial parent would help HFS locate them and serve them papers. It is important to provide as much information about the other parent as possible as this will help the case progress since a child support case cannot proceed without notifying the noncustodial parent.
Once the other parent has been located and notified of the child support case being brought against them, the case goes into hearing in court. If the paternity of the child is disputed, the court may order genetic testing to be carried out to determine the actual paternity of the child. Parents may skip this process by filling a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Form as can be found at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/hfs3416b.pdf. Doing this eliminates the need for legal testing and may speed up the process of obtaining child support. Establishing paternity is important as it gives the child a right to the father’s Social Security benefits, medical coverage, veteran’s benefits, pension, etc. Additional information on establishing paternity can be found at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/parents/Pages/Paternity.aspx.
With a conclusion on the paternity of the child, a court order can now be established. The court makes use of the income information of both parents, along with some other considerations to arrive at a reasonable amount to be paid as child support every month. Noncustodial parents whose employers are known can have the child support payments deducted from their paychecks through income withholding arrangements. This is quite reliable as the money is automatically claimed. For further details on the application process for child support in Illinois, visit https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/parents/Pages/Apply.aspx.
Parents can also apply for a review of their existing child support order if there is considerable change in the income of the noncustodial parent or if the needs of the child change over time. Details on the modification of support orders can be found at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/parents/Pages/Modifications.aspx.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
Child support payments are distributed by the State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The SDU offers two options for parents receiving child support. The parents may decide to go with a direct deposit arrangement that allows the funds to be paid directly into their bank accounts (savings or checking).
The next option is to receive the funds on an IL Debit Mastercard. This is a debit card onto which the funds are preloaded and can be spent at various purchase outlets or used to make cash withdrawals at Mastercard-approved locations. This option is for people who do not have a bank account or who do not wish to associate their bank accounts with the child support case. Further information on the ways to receive the payments can be found at the SDU website https://www.ilsdu.com/.
Amount Receivable as Child Support
The state of Illinois has a Child Support Estimator accessible at https://cscwebext.hfs.illinois.gov/CscWebEx/app/estimator?execution=e1s1 that can be used to get an idea of how much may be awarded as child support. In deciding the exact amount to be paid, the court considers the income of both parents, the age of the child, the needs of the child, special care that may be required, etc. These considerations cannot be properly calculated as they are a bit subjective, therefore, the actual amount awarded as child support may differ from that gotten from the estimator. The minimum amount payable however is $40 per month per child.
Enforcement of Child Support
Noncustodial parents who default on their child support payments may have enforcement actions taken against them. These actions are intended to compel the delinquent parent to pay up what they owe. Several measures may be taken, the most common of which is the suspension of driver’s license. Defaulting parents can have their driver’s licenses suspended until they pay up the child support they owe. Other actions include revoking passports and refusing new applications, placing administrative liens on real estate and vehicles, etc. The state also maintains a delinquent parents list at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/delinquent/Pages/default.aspx.