In Illinois the law under which child support is established is 750 ILCS 5/505.  It applies to children of married parents (pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act) as well as to children of parents who never married (ie:  parentage cases pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984).  In both circumstances the Court is entitled to set child support based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s net income.  The Court has the ability to award child support retroactive to the date the request was filed.  In parentage cases, the Court has the ability to Order support retroactive to a date prior to the filing of the request, such as the child’s date of birth, if certain factors are met.  One of those factors is whether or not the child support payor knew that he or she was the parent of the child prior to the case having been filed.

In one of my cases the custodial parent asked the Court to award her child support retroactive to the date the child was born, which was years prior to the case having been filed.  However, in this case the Court denied the custodial parent child support back to the date of birth because, for years, she had denied that the other side was actually the father.  That strategy all those years (before ever meeting me) helped her meet her goal of denying the other side a relationship with the child.  However, that same goal hurt her child support case for retroactivity.  The moral of THIS story is to be careful what you ask for.  The father ended up getting visitation rights and the mother ended up getting support from the date she admitted the father’s parentage.  She lost back child support, the father lost time with his child and the child lost years of a relationship with the father.  You can learn more here.

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