Whether you need to file for child support in Illinois or request a child support modification, you start at the same source, the state. While your lawyer may provide the most complete information, not everyone has a lawyer. That's why the state has established guidelines and procedures both to file for child support and for modifications. One thing to remember: While child support is a national concern, each state has its own rules, and Illinois is no exception.
Start at the Source
In Illinois, child support falls under the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and its Division of Child Support Services, a state agency that provides a comprehensive list of regional child support agencies throughout the state. The nine regional offices make it easy for most Illinois residents to actually get to an office, if needed, without having to drive all over the state. In addition, the site offers ways to gain information online. If you need to go to court, the state can and does provide lawyers, but the confidentiality agreement that most people hear about does not apply n this situation.
No matter what area of Illinois you live in, the services are the same. The state can establish paternity, locate the noncustodial parent, obtain or modify a child support order, send a notice to the noncustodial parent's employer for child support income withholding, deduct child support from unemployment benefits, and enroll your children in programs that provide health insurance.
Print an application for child support services in Illinois. The application is available online in English and Spanish.
Complete the application and mail it to your local child support agency. (The address will be given to you on the application page of the state's website.) While you can complete the application online, you must personally deliver it, or send it by mail or fax to HFS.
You may also estimate the amount of child support you will receive, change your name or address, and register to receive your payments electronically.
How to File for a Child Support Modification
Child support orders are eligible for review every three years or when there is a significant change in either the child's needs or the noncustodial parent's income. As with the initial filing, the Child Support Division handles the request. Make your request to the regional office that services the county you live in, or call the state. A packet that explains the procedures for modifying your child support request includes a Certification of Income and Expenses form that must be completed within 15 days.
Noncustodial Parent Resources
The state offers a number of options for noncustodial parents. You can pay your child support online, ask for a modification of your support payments, and even get help with establishing and changing your visitation options. In addition, the state can help you appeal any decision about the amount of child support you owe.
There are seven special units dedicated to helping noncustodial parents. They are located in Champaign, Cook, Kane, Lake, Peoria, St. Clair, and Winnebago counties.
Please be aware that anytime you are dealing with a governmental agency, deadlines are important. In your information packets, you will have several forms that require certain forms to be returned by set dates. Follow those to the best of your ability. If you are having difficulties, call the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and ask to speak to a staff member. Write down the name of the person who helps you, the date and the time you call. Keep it safe. Also, do not expect that your request for child support or a change in status to be granted immediately.