Retroactive Child Support Collections in Chicago

Retroactive Child Support Collections in Chicago

By: M. Scott Gordon

There are many different types of scenarios in the Chicago area in which someone might want to seek retroactive child support and may try to seek help with child support collections. Strictly speaking, retroactive child support does not refer to a situation in which there was a child support order in place and the payor parent simply did not pay. Rather, under Illinois law, retroactive child support typically refers to a situation in which a child support order was not entered in the first place, and the custodial parent is now seeking backdated child support payments.

Colloquially speaking, though, discussions of retroactive child support also can lead to questions about seeking unpaid child support. To better understand the difference between the two, we would like to talk a bit more about retroactive child support and when a court can order it. In the event a court does order retroactive child support, the custodial parent should consult an experienced child support collections lawyer in the Chicago area.

What is Retroactive Child Support?

Under the Illinois Parentage Act (750 ILCS 46/), retroactive child support refers, as we mentioned above, to backdated child support when an initial order was not put into place. As the statute explains, child support payments typically begin on the date that the child support order is entered. Absent an order for child support payments, an Illinois court can issue a child support order that requires a parent to provide backdated child support.

Why would a parent fail to seek a child support order? There are many reasons. For instance, perhaps the custodial parent was not certain of the child’s biological other parent (a parentage issue). Or, for example, perhaps the custodial parent had an informal agreement for support with the other parent that stopped being practical.

Illinois Law on Retroactive Child Support

The Illinois Parentage Act specifically states that the court “may order child support payments to be made for a period prior to the commencement of the action,” and that it can consider all relevant facts in deciding whether to order retroactive child support—for which the custodial parent can begin child support collections proceedings—including but not limited to the following:

  • Factors for determining amount of child support in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA);
  • Prior knowledge of the person obligated to pay support about the fact of the child’s birth and the circumstances of the birth;
  • Father’s prior willingness or refusal to help raise the child;
  • Extent to which the mother previously informed the person obligated to pay child support about that duty, or to which the mother previously sought help from the person obligated to pay in the upbringing of the child;
  • Reasons that the mother did not previously seek a child support order; and
  • Extent to which the person obligated to pay would be prejudiced by the mother’s delay in bringing the action.

In most scenarios, it is the mother seeking retroactive support from the child’s father simply because of parentage questions. However, this is not always the case. While the statute does make certain assumptions about the gender of the parent seeking support and the parent obligated to pay, either party certainly could be the child’s mother or father.

Seek Advice from an Experienced Child Support Collections Attorney in Chicago

Retroactive child support and child support collections are complicated. If you have questions, an aggressive Chicago child support collections attorney can help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today.