By Attorney Megan Gayer
Obtaining child support in Illinois can be a complex endeavor, requiring significant dedication and patience from those involved. Obtaining retroactive support, which covers support that predates the initiation of a case, can pose an even greater challenge.
To ensure the successful collection of the child support funds, it is crucial to grasp the significance of timely summons. As outlined in Section 750 ILCS 46/802(a), the Court stipulates that all child support payments, calculated according to the guidelines, will begin from the date the summons is served, unless specific conditions are met.
Understanding the Summons in an Illinois Child Support Case:
The summons serves as a legal document that initiates a case. In child support cases, it notifies the noncustodial parent (the parent from whom child support is being sought) of the legal action and their rights and responsibilities. It sets the stage for subsequent proceedings.
Effectively serving someone with a summons can prove to be a challenging task, given the specific court rules governing proper service. These rules dictate the appropriate methods and procedures for notifying the individual of their legal obligations. Failure to comply with these requirements may jeopardize the validity of the service, potentially leading to delays or complications in the legal proceedings.
Due to the complexities involved in properly serving someone with a summons, seeking the guidance of an attorney becomes even more important. Attorneys can provide invaluable assistance in ensuring that the summons is served in accordance with the court rules.
Below is an example of how improper service can lead to months of missed retroactive support that you could be entitled to.
Let's say you filed for child support in January and made an initial attempt at serving the other party in February. However, due to an error in the service process, it was deemed improper by the court during the April court date. Consequently, the court instructed you to serve the summons again which took place in in May, ensuring proper compliance with the rules. Finally, in June, during the subsequent court hearing, it was determined that the service carried out in May was valid and met all the necessary requirements. In this scenario, the court may choose to retroactively establish the support obligation from the May date, effectively disallowing for the time-period that passed since the initial filing in January.
With that being said, the statute does allow for retroactive child support that pre-dates the filing date in certain situations. In short, the following are a list of factors that the Courts use when deciding to award retroactive child support based on Section 750 ILCS 46/802(e):
- The prior knowledge of the non-custodial parent;
- The non-custodial parents' willingness or refusal to help raise or support the child;
- Reasons for the delay in filing;
- If the custodial parent sought help or previously informed the non-custodial parent of the child's needs or attempted to seek help; and
- The extent to which the person required to pay support would be prejudiced.
If you are seeking child support in Illinois, we recommend reaching out to one of the domestic relations attorneys at CTM Legal Group. Their team of knowledgeable family law attorneys can provide the guidance and support you need.