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Illinois Child Support Payments

Providing for your children and balancing the budget to make ends meet is difficult for most families, but is even more complex when the parents are estranged. Whether you're required to pay child support or are on the receiving end, you'll want to know what the payments are intended to cover, how to make payments, and how to receive them. The following guide is intended to help you through this often-difficult process, with details on the duration of the child support obligation, how to make payments, and more.

Illinois Child Support Payments: The Basics

We get it: you're a single parent who's going through a difficult process and you don't have the time to translate the "legalese" of a child support statute. To help you out, we've highlighted some of the main points regarding Illinois child support payment, including how payments are made and what they cover.


Illinois Statutes Chapter 750, Section 5/505, et seq.

Duration of Parental Child Support Obligation

Obligors (parents paying child support) are responsible for supporting their children financially until:

  1. The child turns 18 (or, if not yet graduated from high school, the child turns 19);
  2. The child is emancipated through marriage, by joining the military, by court order, or other legal means (child is not emancipated by dropping out of school, having a baby, or receiving public assistance);
  3. The child has entered college or trade school (obligor may be required to help with tuition, room, board, transportation, living expenses, etc.); or
  4. The child has a mental or physical disability.

What Child Support Covers

Illinois law doesn't indicate specific items that are covered by child support, other than the following general expenses:

  • Basics of daily living (food, shelter, clothing);
  • Equitable portion of healthcare expenses (obligor must add child to their employer-provided or group-based insurance plan, if available, and is responsible for 50% of the cost); and
  • Transportation.

A court may issue a supplemental support order to pay for other expenses (if determined by the court to be "reasonable"), such as:

  • Expenses related to child's activities (sports, music lessons, etc.);
  • Childcare;
  • Education-related costs; and
  • Out-of-pocket medical or dental expenses.

In addition, a court may combine child support with spousal support in what is called unallocated family support (which is tax-deductible, unlike child support by itself).

Child Support Payment Options

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Child Support Services division) provides a number of options for obligor's to pay child support:

Income Withholding - Most orders will require support payments to be automatically deducted from your paycheck (your employer sends the funds directly to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit, or SDU).

Travelers/Cashiers/Personal Check or Money Order - Send payment to the following address:

State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 5400
Carol Stream, Illinois 60197-5400

Paying Online - There are two options for paying online:

  • e-childsPay - Registration is required to use this service; you can use your Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card and won't be charged a fee if you have an Illinois case.
  • ExpertPay - This allows you to set up automatic payments from your savings or checking account; registration and a one-time $2.50 fee is required.

Paying by Phone - Call 1-866-645-6348 and register for this service; payments may be made with your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card.

Receiving Child Support Payments

Custodial parents have two options for receiving their child support payments in Illinois (visit the SDU website for details):

  1. Direct deposit - Funds may be directly deposited by the obligor into your checking or savings account.
  2. IL Debit MasterCard - Funds are deposited to obligee's account and may be accessed anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Illinois Child Support Payments: Related Resources

Paying or Receiving Child Support in Illinois? Get Professional Legal Help

Child support is absolutely crucial for custodial parents trying to provide for their children, but the process can sometimes be confusing. If you have questions or concerns about making or receiving child support payments, your best option may be to speak with an experienced Illinois child support attorney.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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