Rolled up hundred dollar bills

Determining when child support payments begin and end is based on a number of variables like the child’s age, physical or mental ability, and the child’s enrollment in school. Typically, parents in Illinois have the legal responsibility to provide financial support for their dependent children from the time a court order is issued until the age of maturity is reached, but certain circumstances may result in exceptions to this rule.

Starting Child Support Payments

To begin receiving child support payments in Illinois, the parent must file a Petition for Child Support with the courts. Married parents who do not wish to divorce but are separating may need to file a Petition for Separation to request child support and settle other parenting issues. Unmarried parents file either a Mother’s Petition for Parentage and Allocation of Parental Responsibilities or Father’s Petition for Parentage and Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. These forms request an Illinois court to establish parentage, determine child support amounts, and give the petitioning parent temporary responsibilities over the child or children.

While determining child support can be a lengthy process, a parent can file a Petition for Temporary Child Support that can offer some relief while his or her case is being decided.

When Child Support Payments End in Illinois

Child support payments ordered by Illinois courts typically stop when a child reaches age 18 or when he or she is expected to graduate high school if the child reaches the age of maturity while still attending high school. Payments may continue to the child’s 19th birthday if he or she is still in high school. Children older than 18 may still receive support payments in other circumstances. If the child is physically disabled or mentally disabled, for example, the payments may continue far beyond the child’s 18th birthday. Children who are attending college may qualify for educational support past their 18th birthday as well.

On the other hand, if a child is emancipated before turning 18, the parent’s child support obligation typically ends. A child can be emancipated by getting married, joining the military, or moving out and establishing his or her independence.

Illinois uses a Uniform Order of Support as a formal record of the details pertaining to financial support in family law cases. If a parent has any questions about the date of termination for child support payments, a family law attorney may be able to help.