I think the children's father is still in the area. What information will the enforcement office need to find him?
Most important is the social security number and current employer's name and address; also helpful are the names, addresses and phone numbers of any relatives, friends, or past employers who might know where he works or lives. Unions, local clubs or organizations, including professional organizations, might also have information. Finally, information about local creditors, such as banks or utility companies, might yield an address.
What will happen when the caseworker has the current address of the noncustodial parent?
The child support worker will verify the home and work addresses, then may ask the parent to come to the CSE office for an interview, or notify him that legal action may be taken.
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Establishing Fatherhood: Paternity
What are the benefits of establishing paternity?
Paternity establishment can provide basic emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child. Once paternity is established legally, a child gains legal rights and privileges. Among these may be rights to inheritance, rights to the father's medical and life insurance benefits, social security and possibly veterans' benefits. The child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father, and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the "other half" of his or her family.
What will the enforcement caseworker need to know to try to establish paternity?
The caseworker needs as much information as you can give about the alleged father and the facts about your relationship with him, your pregnancy, and the birth of your child. Some of these questions may be personal. States must keep the information that you give confidential.
What if he denies he is the father, or he's not sure?
Paternity can be determined by the evidence presented in court, including highly accurate tests conducted on the man, mother and child. Genetic test results indicate a probability of paternity and can establish a legal presumption of paternity. These tests can exclude a wrongly accused man and can also indicate the likelihood of paternity if he is not excluded. All parties in a contested paternity case must submit to genetic tests at the request of either party.
What happens if I am not sure who the father is?
When more than one man could be the father of a baby, each may be required to take a genetic test. These tests are highly accurate, and it is almost always possible to determine who fathered a baby and to rule out anyone who did not.
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Establishing the Support Order: Obligation
How does the caseworker find out about the other parent's income or assets? I know very little about what she owns or makes.
The caseworker will make every possible effort to identify the parent's employment, property owned, and any other sources of income or assets. This information will be verified before the support order is final.
I just heard that my son's mother has had three promotions in the last four years but the child support is still like it was six years ago. Is there some way to find out when she has a raise?
Our office reviews child support orders every three years if the family is receiving TANF. Other orders being enforced through our office may be reviewed every three years if either parent requests such a review in writing. Ask you caseworker for information about reviewing and, if appropriate, modifying your child support order.
What can I do to get my support increased if it is too low?
If you come to our office for a modification of your order, we will need to determine the present income and assets of the noncustodial parent, together with your financial situation and the needs of the child. Our office can then seek a modification.
I can't get health insurance with my job but my ex-wife gets good benefits where she works. Can she be required to carry the children on her insurance?
Yes. Our office will also petition the court to include medical support in any order for child support when employment related or other group health insurance is available to the noncustodial parent at a reasonable cost. Court orders can also be modified to include health care coverage.
Is there a limit to the amount of money that can be taken from my paycheck for child support?
The amount that can be withheld from an employee's disposable wages is limited by the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act to 50 percent of disposable earnings if an obligated parent has a second family and 60 percent if there is no second family. These limits are each increased by 5 percent ( to 55% and 65% ) if payments are in arrears for a period equal to 12 weeks or more.
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Child Support Payments
Why is the amount of my check different or less than usual?
Once current support and arrearage orders are satisfied for the month the administrative fees that are owed by the obligor are taken from the payment. This typically occurs every third month if the payment is received on a weekly basis or every six months if payment is bi-weekly.
My check is lost in the mail what do I need to do to get a new one?
Once it has been 17 days since your support check was issued contact the CSE for a stop payment affidavit.
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Enforcing the Support Order: Enforcement
Can a wage withholding be requested for my child support payments?
Yes. All support orders issued or modified must include a provision for wage withholding.
Can I have the wage withholding applied to my existing child support order?
Yes, you can apply for the wage withholding through our office for both ongoing support and arrearages.
My ex-husband has a good job and is willing to have the payments deducted from his paycheck, but his employer won't do it. What can I do?
Under Federal law, an employer must withhold the support if ordered to. If you run into problems with an employer, seek the assistance of our office.
Can past-due child support be taken from the State income tax refund?
Under Federal law, all States with State income tax must offset State income tax refunds for past-due support owed.
Can Federal income tax refunds be offset the same way?
Yes, States can request an offset of Federal income tax refunds for past-due support.
The children's mother lost her job and is collecting unemployment compensation. Can child support payments be deducted and sent to me?
Yes. Unemployment compensation, and other State and Federal benefits can be withheld for child support.
My children are over 18 and don't get child support any more, but there is still a $10,000 arrearage owed to me for support that was never paid. Will the CSE office collect that money for me?
Yes, our office is required to collect the back support.
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Often times, it is necessary to utilize the assistance of another States' Child Support Agency to successfully establish, enforce and/or modify an existing child support order. This process is known as Interstate Action. The uniform act used to work these interstate cases if referred to as UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act).
I know the address of my child's father in another State, and my caseworker sent a petition to establish/enforce my support order there. How long will it take to receive support payments?
This varies, depending on what action is necessary. If an interstate request is made to another State for enforcement of an order, it may take several months up to a year to get this case into court (some state longer). If legal action is required, your local CSEA will closely monitor the status of the request.
I have been served to appear at a hearing in another state. Am I required to travel and appear for this hearing?
Some states allow the ability to participate in a hearing through telephone testimony. This pertains to Administrative Hearings held at the CSEA as well. If you are scheduled to appear at an out-of-state hearing, please contact the CSEA for more details as to whether you are permitted to provide telephone testimony.
As soon as the child's mother is notified about enforcement, she moves. How will I ever be able to collect my support?
Many custodial parents are angry when, after the non-custodial parent is finally located and served notice of the enforcement action, he or she moves on. It is difficult to enforce child support payments when the non-custodial parent intentionally moves to avoid paying. Try to be an active participant in your own case. Whenever you learn that the non-custodial parent has moved or has a new job, you should tell your caseworker as soon as possible.
How do I get my support order modified when on or both parties no longer live in the state that issued the order?
Either party may seek a modification of an order issued in another state. Issues faced with who has authority to modify an order can be complicated.
If either of the parties still reside in the state which issued the support order, and this is the only support order for the case, only that state has jurisdiction to modify the order.
If neither party still reside in the state which issued the order, and this is the only support order for this case, the state in which the non requesting party resides must register the order in that state and has jurisdiction to modify it.
Your CSEA has tools available to make the assessment for you.
I don't have a support order. Can I have one established by petitioning the court where my spouse lives?
Yes, this can be done. Depending on the facts, it could be handled in our state or referred to another state. An affidavit of the facts, including the name and address of the responsible parent, details of your financial circumstances, and the needs of the children will be included. The petition will be mailed to the enforcement agency, the court, or the information together with information about the obligor's ability to pay, and set the amount to be paid.
What is your email address?
We can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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