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How Can I Obtain Retroactive Child Support in Illinois?

 Posted on September 08, 2021 in Divorce and Family Law

wheaton child support lawyerIndividuals who were never married but share a child often face unique challenges and circumstances. Challenges such as child support are often dealt with as an element of the divorce process. In cases that involve non-married parents, it is likely that the establishment of paternity will be required. If this step is delayed, it may be possible for the custodial parent to seek retroactive child support for the expenses incurred prior to the custody support order taking effect.

The Parentage Act

Before child support or parenting time can be court-ordered, parentage must be determined. Parentage refers to the legal relationship between a parent and child. The Parentage Act in Illinois, originally established in 1984, entitles every child the right to their parents’ support, including physical, emotional, and financial support. The Parentage Act was specifically put in place to address the legal rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents. This includes divorced parents and parents who were never married. 

Ultimately, when determining the allotment of child support, it is important to maintain the same lifestyle the child is accustomed to or would have been accustomed to if their parents had remained united. 

In some cases, a father may have been unaware of the child’s birth or a mother may have delayed in requesting child support. Within two years of the child’s birth, courts may order the father to pay expenses that were incurred by the mother associated with the pregnancy and birth of the child. These payments may be retroactive to the child’s birth.

How to Properly Secure Retroactive Child Support

Because divorce and child custody disputes can be strenuous and extensive legal processes, retroactive child support prevents parents from neglecting the financial obligations to their child. 

Regardless if a parent is active in their child’s life, they are obligated to financially support their child from the time they are born. When a mother wants a court to order her child’s father to pay child support, she must first serve papers to the father. The date the mother serves the father the “Papers to Establish a Father-Child Relationship” is often the date child support can be paid back retroactively, however, it may also be backdated to the child’s birth.

In instances that the request for child support was delayed, there are many elements a court will consider before granting retroactive child support past the initial petition date, including:

  • If the father had prior knowledge of the child’s birth 

  • If the father is willing to assist in supporting and raising the child

  • Why the mother delayed in petitioning for child support initially 

  • The extent of father’s prejudice that would result from the petition’s delay

  • The extent to which the mother had previously informed the father of the child’s needs

It is important to note that while there is a two-year limitation of pursuing retroactive payments for birthing expenses, a paternity action can be sought by the mother or father up until the child is 20 years of age. 

Contact Our Wheaton, IL Child Support Attorneys Today

Pursuing retroactive child support can be an emotional and complicated process. Due to the complexities of the legal system and the obstacles parents may face, it is highly suggested that parents in this situation seek legal counsel. The attorneys with Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC can aid in gathering necessary information and evidence to build a case that supports you and your child’s best interests. Contact our DuPage County child support attorneys today to better understand your legal options by calling 630-665-2500.



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