Illinois custodial parents might wonder if and when they should file for child support. While not every custodial parent will need child support or a formal agreement to receive it, there are a variety of reasons why it is recommended to officially file.

For example, it’s important to formalize a child support agreement by filing it with a court if the custodial parent depends on the financial support provided by the other parent to meet their child’s needs. These needs can include shelter, food, clothing, medical care and other necessities. The custodial parent may also file for support if the other parent has filed for custody. Even if the ex is only seeking visitation rights, many parents choose to file for support during this time since they will already be headed to court to sort out custody.

Additionally, custodial parents who receive government assistance might consider filing for formal support since the government will likely seek to collect child support from the other parent to cover these costs. When the noncustodial parent is expecting a child with someone else, the custodial parent might also consider filing as a new child might mean that the other parent won’t be able to meet their support obligations to the first child voluntarily.

Even when couples are on amicable terms and have worked out a support agreement, the custodial parent might seek to formalize it. The reason behind this has to do with the change in perception over what the child needs over time.

Parents who find themselves considering if they should file for support might contact a family law lawyer. An attorney can explain how support is determined in their state and assist the parent in the filing process.