Having a child is a beautiful thing... but it can be really expensive. Both parents must share the financial burden of raising their children. This is true whether or not you were ever married.
When you file for child support, time transpires as you wait for the court to issue an order. In the meantime, weeks (or years even) may have come and gone. All the while, you may not have received a penny for child support, not until the order was issued at least. Now, with the financial burden overwhelming you, you want to know if you can get retroactive child support. This question may be one born from bitterness or necessity, but whichever it is, it is good to know you can get retroactive child support in Illinois.
There are, however, many considerations and circumstances that affect the decision. Here's an overview of what to know about retroactive child support in Illinois.
How far back can you request child support in Illinois?
Most states restrict or limit how far back you can go to request retroactive child support. The same is true in Illinois and falls on whether or not you were married to the other parent when you had the child.
- If you were married, the general rule is that you can request child support dating back to the date you filed a motion requesting support, which is typically after the date a divorce was filed; or
- If you were not married, the general rule is that you can request child support dating back to the date the father was served with Papers to stablish a Father-Child Relationship.
If you want to modify child support, the same above-rules apply. This means you can seek modifications retroactively, too.
Are there restrictions in Illinois on getting retroactive child support?
An Illinois court can restrict or limit the amount of retroactive child support it awards you. The court can also decide not to award it. When determining retroactive child support awards, a court will consider certain things per 750 ILCS 46/802:
(1) The factors for determining the amount of support specified in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
(2) The prior knowledge of the person obligated to pay support of the fact and circumstances of the child's birth.
(3) The father's prior willingness or refusal to help raise or support the child.
(4) The extent to which the mother or the public agency bringing the action previously informed the person obligated to pay support of the child's needs or attempted to seek or require the help of the person obligated to pay support in raising or supporting the child.
(5) The reasons the mother or the public agency did not file the action earlier.
(6) The extent to which the person obligated to pay support would be prejudiced by the delay in bringing the action.
It's the fifth factor that may matter most to you. You may have been struggling financially or emotionally or whatever else. And it takes money to file a claim. It takes time to file a claim. It also takes a lot of courage to file it. You may have been giving the other parent the benefit of the doubt. You may have wanted to maintain a civil relationship. You "may have" many things.
So, the first thing here to know is this: don't let the last factor scare you into not filing a claim. And a second thing to note here: contact an experienced Chicago area child support attorney who can help make sure you get just and fair retroactive child support you deserve.