There are two ways that you can petition to collect child support in Illinois. One way is to file the child support claim directly in court, often as part of a divorce case. The other way is to file with the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. A parent who receives public assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families must use the DCSS to receive child support, but any parent can apply for state child support services. Should you petition for the DCSS to handle your child support case? While there are some advantages to the state system, the disadvantages can make the process a pain.


The DCSS, with assistance from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, provides several free child support services, including:

  • Filing the court order for child support
  • Enforcing payment
  • Establishing paternity of the child
  • Locating a missing or unresponsive parent
  • Requesting that children be covered by a parent’s health insurance

The DCSS has several means of collecting child support and pressuring compliance from a parent who is not paying. They can deduct from the parent’s unemployment benefits, intercept their tax refunds, revoke their driver’s and professional licenses, deny their passports, and place liens on their properties.


The main disadvantage of using the DCSS is that you are relying on a state agency that is processing thousands of other requests, which can lead to delays and mistakes. Your co-parent’s child support payments are not going directly to you but to the DCSS, who processes the money and sends it to you.

Another problem is that the DCSS does not give legal advice or act as your attorney in your child support case. If your case goes to court, the Illinois Attorney General or a state’s attorney is representing the DCSS and not you. You will be required to sign a disclosure statement before your case goes to court, and the discussions you have with the attorney are not confidential because you are not their client.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Working with your own attorney on filing for child support gives you more control over the process than if you are filing through the state. A personal attorney can recommend actions that will most benefit you and your child. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will work on your behalf in your child support case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.