The way child support works in Illinois typically entails one parent who has custody receiving payments from the other parent. However, if you and your ex-spouse have a joint custody situation, you may still seek assistance for raising your child. It is possible to obtain cash benefits, but these benefits work differently than child support. 

Where the money comes from 

For these benefits, one of the parents should contact the Illinois Department of Human Services. The condition of these benefits is that only one of you may receive them, and they must go to the parent with whom the child is living. 

How the DHS determines whom the child is living with 

You must prove to the DHS that your child is living with you if you want to be the one to receive benefits. The DHS will evaluate which of you exercises the most “care and control” of your child. If you both provide equal care and control, then you must decide together whom you tell the DHS your child is living with. 

If you want to prove that you are the parent who exercises the most care and control of your child, show the court documentation that demonstrates these responsibilities. If you take care of your child’s medical care, you are the school’s contact or you keep your child’s personal items at home, you may want to show this to the DHS. You may also mention if your child lives with you for longer periods than with the other parent.