Photo of Karen Lavin

Many Illinoisans serve in the military. That calling is an important one, but with it comes unique challenges. For instance, many service members serve extended deployments overseas. These deployments can strain families and prompt family law problems, especially for Illinois service members who owe child support.

Fortunately, Illinois service members and their children do not need to handle these issues on their own. One source of support is called the Child Support Program (and is also known as the Title IV-D Program).

What is the Child Support Program’s mission? To support children, including military kids, by ensuring that they get the financial and medical support they need. The program aims to make sure the kids get what they need by essentially overseeing military child support. The program locates parents, ascertains paternity, sets child-support obligations, monitors compliance and enforces obligations when necessary.

But that’s not all the program does. It also educates parents to help them raise and support their children in a positive manner.

What are some tangible ways in which the program serves its mission? For one, it promotes fair child-support obligations, obligations set by the parents. The program also tries to minimize the harms that arise from innocent mistakes and short-term missteps. For instance, the program has set up automated systems that provide early warning about missed payments and notifies the parent who missed the payment before enforcement action gets taken.

But the program is not a panacea for every harm that ails a military family. To learn more about how the program can help, and when it cannot, Illinoisans may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced family law attorney.

Source:, “A Handbook for Military Families: Helping You with Child Support,” Accessed April 26, 2015