Using the State to Collect Child Support For Free: Pros and Cons

In Illinois, you may be able to get help collecting and enforcing child support payments. Here's some important information.

The State of Illinois, through State's Attorneys Offices and even the Illinois Attorney General's Office, provides limited, free legal services  to those seeking child support. The state can help you establish paternity, child support amounts, medical insurance, and enforce child support payments when they are delinquent.


Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a public aid recipient to use these services. You can be a person of any income level, there are no restrictions of this kind. However, whether you do receive AFDC is important, because those parents must assign their child support rights to the state in exchange for receiving public assistance.


The free program to collect child support is widely used and, for many who cannot afford private attorneys, very useful. However, depending on your county, the process to use the program and the time it takes to get into court can be frustrating and very long. It is not uncommon for us to hear that people are waiting more than six months, and in some case, a year, to get started.

Waiting so long to begin receiving child support payments is frustrating for many people. And, for those who need the money to flow more quickly in order for ends to meet, waiting a year makes little sense.

Some private attorneys have alternative fee arrangements and reduced fee plans for people seeking child support payments.