There are multiple child support services and organizations located across the United States. They can be found in every single state at various agencies. The Office of Child Support Enforcement works closely with each of those tribal, state, and federal agencies in order to make sure that as many children as possible receive the support that they need and deserve.
Types of Child Support Services Agencies
There are several types, or levels, of child support services agencies in the country. At the top level is the federally run Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), which is actually a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The OCSE website, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css is a great resource for parents and other concerned parties who want to learn more about how child support is calculated and enforced in the United States.
The next level is state child support agencies. Each state has its own agencies with its own variations on child support laws and calculations. The state child support services offered by those agencies tend to be similar in every state, but there are subtle differences. There are even differences in the names of the organizations that govern child support in each…
If you have custody of your child, or children, and you want to apply to get the other parent to pay child support, there are a lot of things that you need to know. Here are 10 of the most important things to get you started.
Where to Seek Assistance
The first thing you need to know is where to seek assistance. You can consult a lawyer to get a child support petition started with the court, but you do have other options. Your first step should be to contact your local or state child support agency. They can advise you of your rights, help you estimate how much you are owed, and even help you to track down the other parent.
Parent and Child Information
When you sit down with a child support caseworker at your local or state agency, he or she will want to know as much as possible about your case. So, you should prepare ahead of time. Make sure that you have information gathered that includes the names of the parents and children involved, as well as social security numbers, addresses, work information if you have it, and any information you have that can prove paternity.
How to Track Down…
Unfortunately, child support fraud is a fairly common occurrence in the United States. There are many ways to commit the act of child support fraud, and some are easier to track than others. For example, someone could take on only jobs that pay in cash and then not report their income. Alternatively, they could simply avoid getting a job on purpose. It’s even possible for a person to accidentally not pay their child support, if their employer is supposed to automatically withhold it and the system fails to do so. However, regardless of the methods or intentions involved, if you suspect someone of child support fraud, it’s important to report the situation to the authorities in your area as quickly as possible.
Make Sure That You Have Proof
Since issues of fraud relating to child support are taken very seriously by the authorities, you need to make sure that you have proof before you accuse someone. Otherwise, you could be doing a lot of harm to an innocent person and wasting a lot of people’s time. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get true proof, since the person isn’t likely to admit to fraud. However, you could get pictures or receipts for…
If you have one or more children and want the other parent to pay child support, but you don’t know where they are, the first step is to try to locate them.
Start at Your Local Child Support Agency
The first thing that you can do is talk to your local child support agency. When you open a case with them, they can use the tools at their disposal to locate the missing parent. When you meet with the caseworker, just be sure to bring proof of paternity. That could include a certified birth certificate, letters to the child from the other parent, divorce paperwork, or anything else that indicates that the parent and child are linked.
If it can’t be easily proven that the person is the biological parent, your local child support agency still may be able to help you. In fact, they can often track down the alleged parent and either get them to voluntarily submit to DNA testing or help you to get a court order for DNA testing.
In order to help the agency track down the person in question, you should also bring as much of the following information as possible to your interview:
If you have custody of your child, or multiple children, and you want the other parent (typically the father, but not always) to pay child support, you will need to establish a child support order with the court. The steps for doing that are slightly different depending on which state you are living in, as well as whether or not the other parent lives in a different state. However, each state has a similar process.
The first thing you will need to do, if the identity of the father is legally in question, is determine the paternity. Some men may be willing to take a paternity test, but others may not. Luckily, the court can often order them to do so.
You should start by contacting your local child support agency and for assistance with verifying the father of your child. If you know who the father is, you should bring whatever proof you have to your meeting with your child support caseworker. That proof may include:
- A Certificate of Divorce
- A Certified Birth Certificate for the Child with the Father’s Name
- Letters or Other Acknowledgments by the Father to the Child
If you are unsure of where the father is, or if you need…
If you are the mother of a child and you want the child’s father to pay child support, the first thing you need to do is establish paternity. In other words, you need to prove that the man in question actually is the father of the child. Your local child support agency can help you to do that.
The Interview Process
The first step of establishing paternity for child support is to schedule a paternity interview with your local child support agency. You should bring the following things to the interview:
- Your Name and Proof of Identification
- The Names of the Child and the Alleged Father
- Any Letters, Pictures, or Gifts That Show That the Person in Question Acknowledged Their Paternity Already
- Other Supporting Information
When you sit down with the caseworker for the interview, he or she will ask you personal questions about your relationship with the alleged father of your child. Those questions could include how long you were seeing each other, any expenses you incurred because of the pregnancy, and the circumstances of your child’s birth. All of that information will remain confidential.
In some cases, the father may have already admitted his paternity when the child was born. If so, an affidavit from…
If you have one or more children with another person and the two of you are no longer together, one of you is likely to have primary custody of the child. The person who doesn’t have primary custody may be ordered by the court to make child support payments to the other person. There are a few things that you should know about how those payments are determined and made.
Standard Child Support Payments
In general, each state has a standard way that they determine how much a person will pay for child support. That formula varies a little bit from state to state, but there are certain important factors that remain the same from one state to the next. Those are:
- How many children there are.
- How much money both parents make.
- Debts or obligations of both parents.
- Money the child has from something such as an inheritance.
Additional Child Support
In some states and under certain circumstances, the court may look at other things when the amount of child support is being determined. For example, if the parent who is expected to pay child support recently got married or had another child, that may be a consideration. Also, if both parents share custody equally then child…
When it comes to making child support payments, the first thing you should know is where your local child support office is. You should also be aware of the services that it offers. So, here is a brief explanation of the types of child support offices, how to find the closest one to you, and what your nearest child support office can do for you.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement
The Office of Child Support Enforcement, or OCSE, is the federal branch of what might be called a child support agency tree. The OCSE website, which is http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css, can direct you to all sorts of child support information. In fact, you can use the OCSE website to research court information, find resources for obtaining new employment, and learn about access and visitation programs, among other things.
Tribal Child Support Offices
There are over 50 Native American tribes that have their own child support offices and programs. Those programs are designed to uphold the cultural beliefs of the tribe members, while still holding parents responsible for child care. Some of the tasks performed by those offices include:
- Finding Biological Parents
- Administering DNA Testing to Prove Family Relationships
- Creating and Enforcing Child Support Agreements
- Providing Other Related…
Whether you are a custodial parent seeking child support or a non-custodial parent who may have to pay it, it’s important for you to understand the child support laws and how they apply to you. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done, since you may need to deal with local, tribal, state, and federal child support systems. You may even have to deal with laws in more than one state, if the parents live in two different states. However, there are plenty of general guidelines and resources available to you.
Federal Child Support Laws
The first federally adopted law pertaining to child support was passed in 1910. It was called the Uniform Desertion and Non-Support Act. It required husbands to support children up to the age of 16. However, it was only enforced in 24 districts and it had several loopholes. So, many parents got around it.
Since that time, there were more laws passed and amendments to existing acts in order to increase child support enforcement. For a good list of those laws, you can visit http://singleparents.about.com/od/paternity/a/history-of-child-support.htm.
These days, federal child support laws mainly pertain to cases where the parent is not living in the same state as the child….
When you are involved in a child support case, there may be some things that you have to take care of in person at your local child support agency office. However, there are a lot of child support e-services available to you as well. You can use some of those services beforehand to get a better understanding of the process, or you can use them after your case is open to make it easier to pay or receive child support.
Calculators, Formulas, and Online Forms for Child Support Services
Just about all states offer online calculators, formulas, and forms as part of their child support e-services. You can use those tools to estimate how much you may have to pay, or how much you may be paid by the non-custodial parent. Each state’s rules are slightly different. So, you should make sure that you are using your state’s calculator. Also, keep in mind that calculations may be more complex if there are multiple states or multiple children involved. So, it’s impossible to know exactly how much the payments will be until a payment amount is settled upon in court.
Around the Clock Account Access
One of the most important child support e-services offered by…