Can I Receive Retroactive Child Support in Illinois?
When a court orders a parent to pay child support, this is many times done as part of a divorce case. The parent required to pay support typically must begin paying it from the date the order is issued. However, there may be cases in which a custodial parent would ask for child support to be paid for a time period before the order was issued. Usually, these cases involve unmarried parents, although sometimes, a spouse that was at one time married to the other parent may ask for retroactive child support as well.
Retroactive Child Support for Married Parents
Married parents cannot ask for retroactive child support dating as far back as the child’s birth. The law assumes that during the marriage, both parents were contributing to the support of the child, and as such, child support is not owed for that time. However, there are instances in which a spouse may still ask for retroactive child support as part of a divorce. This may address the period of time before the child support order is issued. In this case, the parent receiving the support for the child can ask for retroactive child support from the date a petition for child support was filed with the court.
For example, a father may be served divorce papers on February 1. On May 1, the mother may file a petition for child support. After being awarded child support on July 1, she may ask for retroactive support. This would provide support for the two months between the motion and the hearing. A judge has discretion at this point as to whether to award retroactive support or not.
Retroactive child support for unmarried parents works slightly differently than it does for couples that were once married. This is because the law assumes that the couple lived separately, and that only one parent supported the child. Due to this, the law does allow an unwed parent to receive retroactive child support. This child support may be retroactive to the date of the child’s birth.
In these cases, the court will typically at least award child support that is retroactive to the day a parent filed their petition for support. The judge has the discretion whether or not to award retroactive child support for any period prior to filing the petition. When making that decision, he or she will consider a number of factors, including:
- Whether the noncustodial parent knew about the child’s birth
- If the noncustodial parent refused to support or help raise the child
- The extent to which the custodial parent asked the noncustodial parent for help and support
- Reasons the custodial parent did not petition the court sooner
Although a judge has much discretion during these proceedings, the general rule of thumb in Illinois is that child support is retroactive for one or two years before the case was filed.
Contact a Skilled Barrington Family Law Attorney Today for Help
If you need to file a petition for child support, you should do not do so on your own. Passionate Inverness child support lawyer Nicholas W. Richardson can help you understand your rights, and he will help you get the full amount of support you need. Call the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson today at 847.873.6741 for your free consultation.