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Can You Obtain Child Support Without Filing for Divorce?
Child support can be obtained without filing for divorce, especially in the case of a paternity action. A paternity action is a situation where the parties are not married but yet they have a child, and issues concerning custody, support, and visitation must be issued. So you do not have to go through a divorce case to actually start to receive child support. In fact, you can bring a separate action for child support, and you could even go through the States Attorney's Office, but I would always recommend an individual counsel do that for you.
When a divorce case is filed, the issue of child support can be addressed relatively early on in the case. This is known as a Temporary Order, or a Temporary Motion for Child Support. This differs in that it's not the final order, which is going to be made a part of your judgment, but it's a temporary order to get the funds flowing from the payer to the recipient for child support.
The State is going to look to the same guidelines, based on the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The State is still going to look at the parties' income, the parties' tax returns, the parties' work ability, and determine whether or not and how much child support should be awarded.
The issue of custody has to be determined prior to child support, because it's going to be the custodial parent that's entitled to receive child support, and the non-custodial parent who is going to be obligated to pay child support. Custody, in this case, can be done on a temporary basis as well, and it is not permanent. Thus, the custody and the support award that is made at the initial outset or early phases of the case are just that. They are temporary.
The court can reverse the decision on custody, reverse the decision on support, and make any kind of modifications to either one of those, as the case progresses, but you do not have to actually file a divorce case to receive child support. You can receive child support in an independent paternity action, or prior to a divorce being finalized, as a temporary order.