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Steps in filing for child support

42500125_S.jpgThere are several steps a parent in Illinois may need to go through to file for child support. A mother who was not married to the child's father at the time of the child's birth may need to establish paternity. If the mother was married to someone else at the time, that person may be listed as the father.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement can help with locating the parent, establishing paternity and collecting child support. It will also assist fathers who need to locate mothers and collect child support from them. It may be necessary to use a database called the Federal Parent Locator Service to find the other parent. Once the parent is located, there is still a lengthy process to go through. It may take several weeks or even months before child support payments start to arrive.

Parents should also be aware that collecting child support from the other parent might also mean that parent will be able to get visitation rights although it is possible they may not be granted. However, a parent who has been a bad partner might not necessarily be a bad parent.

Family courts usually proceed from the assumption that the child will benefit from spending time with both parents. Child support payments are not directly tied to visitation in that a parent is not permitted to withhold access to a child if there is a visitation agreement in place but the other parent is missing payments. The Office of Child Support Enforcement might also help if a parent has lapsed in making payments. The parent's wages may be garnished or other steps might be taken. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney may be beneficial in achieving a desired outcome.

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