Reeder & Brown, P.C.



Joliet Family Law Attorney Discusses the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (ISDU)

If you have been ordered to pay child support in Illinois, your compliance is not optional. You must pay the ordered amount on time, or you could face serious consequences. For example, you could be found in contempt of court and sent to jail, your driver's license may be suspended, and you could be ordered to pay fines or other penalties. You could also face criminal charges for non-payment of support, depending on the circumstances. On top of all this, you will be required to fully pay the amount owed, along with interest. In order to avoid consequences such as these, you need to understand the provisions of your support order and the options that are available to you for making your required payments.

At Reeder & Brown, P.C. in Joliet, Illinois, we realize that complying with a child support order is not always easy, especially since many orders may include complicated obligations and requirements. With this in mind, we help negotiate divorce settlements that clearly spell out each parent's responsibilities regarding child support. Our skilled attorneys provide trusted guidance to parents who pay support as well as parents who receive child support payments.

Types of Child Support in Illinois

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) provides a series of guidelines for calculating each parent's share of the costs associated with raising a child. These costs include "basic" child support, as well as other child-related expenses. Basic child support is intended to help with a child's primary needs, including food, clothing, and a place to live. The formula for calculating basic support relies primarily on the income of both parents. The calculation, however, can quickly become complex if one or both parties are self-employed, work on commission, or have income that changes from month to month for other reasons.

Illinois law also contains provisions that require both parents to share other child-related expenses that are not income-related. These costs generally include health care and medical expenses, educational expenses, child care expenses, and the costs and fees of reasonable extracurricular sports, clubs, or activities.

Understanding Your Payment Options

There are a number of ways in which you can make your required child support payments, including:

  • Wage withholding: The most common way to make child support payments is through wage withholding or garnishment. Wage withholding means that the money is deducted from the paying parent's wages by their employer each pay period and submitted to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit (ISDU). Wage withholding is often used for basic child support and other expenses, such as child care, that are the same from month to month. This method also allows for accurate and up-to-date recordkeeping.
  • Electronic payments: If wage withholding is not possible or sufficient, such as in cases where the paying parent is self-employed or when extra expenses have not been added to the basic support amount, the ISDU provides several options for making electronic payments, either online or over the phone. Depending on which option you use, you can pay by online check or with a credit/debit card through or by phone, and processing fees may apply. Electronic payments can be easily tracked for recordkeeping purposes.
  • Mailed payments: Regardless of your obligation, you always have the option of mailing a check or money order directly to the ISDU. If you mail in your payments, it is up to you to ensure that the payment arrives and is processed properly.
  • Paying the other parent directly: It is usually not a good idea to make child support payments directly to the other parent. Even if you maintain meticulous records, allegations of non-payment can quickly become "he said, she said" situations. Whenever possible, you should make your payments through the ISDU, the agency tasked with processing support payments and disbursing them to recipient parents across the state.
  • Paying a provider: In some situations, you may be required to pay a share of a particular bill directly to the party that provided the service, such as a doctor, childcare center, or school. If you make a direct payment, it is important to keep a receipt of your payment and to notify the other parent that you paid your portion.

Contact Our Will County Child Support Lawyers

For more information about your options for complying with your Illinois child support order, contact our office. Call 815-885-5980 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. Reeder & Brown, P.C. serves clients in Joliet, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Will County, and the surrounding communities.

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