Family law issues can be intimidating, especially if it involves your children. The issue of child support is no exception, and it can be confusing. When you are facing child support concerns, understanding how child support works can be an important step in approaching the process.

A child support attorney can help you understand how financial support might impact you. However, some basic information can help you prepare for important discussions with an attorney.

The Process for Unmarried Parents

When a child’s parents were never married, child support guidelines require that parentage be established. Basically, you must legally determine the father even if it is undisputed. There are several ways to determine paternity. The father of the child can voluntarily acknowledge his parentage, meaning he can acknowledge that the child in question is his on a voluntary basis. This can be done at the hospital after the child’s birth by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (“VAP”) or it can be done in open court under oath.

When parents do not agree on parentage, they have the option of going to court. One parent will need to file a petition and the process will involve establishing paternity.

Applying As a Married Parent

Married parents can request child support as part of divorce proceedings or a legal separation. Generally, this is done as part of those proceedings in court.

However, married parents may also request child support from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services. Often referred to as IV-D Services, this procedure can sometimes be easier and more cost-effective than traditional court proceedings but will not address parenting time or other custody concerns.

Child Support Awards

Regardless of whether the parents are married or not,  the award will be governed by the state’s child support guidelines. The state’s child support estimator can help a person get a better idea of what type of child support payment might be awarded in their specific circumstances.

While the guidelines are relatively straightforward in how much of an award is generally given, there are some exceptions. In other words, it is not always as simple as plugging numbers into a calculator and accepting the result. An experienced child support attorney can help a person understand more about how these guidelines and any potential exceptions to them might affect them.


Child support payments are generally administered by the Illinois State Disbursement Unit(“SDU”). If you are receiving child support, you can work with the SDU to select the method that you receive child support payments. You can receive child support via check, direct deposit, or debit card.

Sometimes, parents want to control their own payments by making direct payments between each other. This could be a terrible mistake for many reasons. It is important to understand all the potential problems of paying directly before agreeing to do so. However, most child support orders will result in paycheck deductions that will then be disbursed to the receiving parent. This helps ensure that adequate payment is made in a timely manner and can help you avoid many legal concerns that could arise with missed payments. Additionally, it removes doubt as to what support payments were made and when.

How a Will County Child Support Attorney Can Help

Finding information about the child’s other parent can be a difficult endeavor, especially if they decided to be uncooperative. The child support process can also be time-consuming. A child support attorney can play an important role in working with you to address your child support concerns.

There is a great deal at stake when it comes to child support, including your child’s well-being. If you have child support concerns and want to know more about the Will County process of child support payment and how it might affect you, contact our firm to see how our dedicated Will County lawyer can help you navigate the process of awarding child support.