It is very important to file for support as soon as possible in a child support or maintenance or college contribution related support in Illinois. It is generally one of the first things a lawyer will do when they take a new case relative to those issues. The reason why is because support is, generally, only retroactive back to the date when the request was first filed, with some exceptions.
In a parentage case, where the parties were never married, it may be retroactive back up to the child’s birth. Sometimes, maternity expenses can also be recovered. This is an exception to the general rule and it is up to the Judge’s discretion.
In a divorce case, the child support is retroactive back to the date a request for support was filed, and no further. So, it is always a good idea to get a support petition on file as soon as possible in a divorce case. Spousal support, or maintenance, is treated the same way.
As for college contribution, it is only retroactive back to the date the petition was filed. That means a petition needs to be filed before any college expenses are paid. Once they are paid, if you didn’t have a petition on file, you may have lost your right to obtain contribution/reimbursement for same.
So, the general rule in an Illinois case dealing with support or college contribution is to file your petition as soon as possible. That will ensure you have the right to the most possible support.