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Child Support Enforcement

The Child Support Enforcement Program is a partnership between the Federal, state and local governments. It is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the Child Support Enforcement Program (CSE) is to send a strong message to all parents that they are responsible for the financial and medical support of their children. It stresses the importance of the involvement of both parents in the lives of their children. While this philosophy benefits the children, it is also aimed at reducing welfare costs.

Every state has a child support enforcement program in place. It is usually a part of the Social Services Department, Attorney General's Office, or Department of Revenue. Child support enforcement programs are responsible for locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, establishing support orders and collecting support payments.

While the basic responsibility for administering the CSE program is left to the individual states, the Federal Government dictates the major design features of State programs. The Federal Government also funds, monitors and evaluates the State programs as well as assisting states in locating absent parents and obtaining support payments.

What happens when a parent owes back child support?

Collection methods used by state CSE agencies include

  • Income withholding
  • Intercept of federal and state income tax refunds
  • Intercept of unemployment compensation
  • Liens against property
  • Reporting child support obligations to credit bureaus
  • Intercept of lottery winnings
  • Sending insurance settlement information to cse agencies
  • Authority to withhold or suspend driver's licenses
  • Authority to withhold or suspend professional licenses
  • Authority to withhold or suspend recreational and sporting licenses of persons
  • Authority to seize assets of debtor parents held by public or private retirement funds and financial institutions
  • Authorizes the Secretary of State to deny, revoke, or restrict passports of debtor parents
  • All jurisdictions also have civil or criminal contempt-of-court procedures and criminal nonsupport laws

To ensure that state and local child support offices have access to information that can be used to locate non-custodial parents, the Federal government operates the Federal Parent Locator Service. The Federal Case Registry and the National Directory of New Hires are part of the Federal Parent Locator Service.

Click on a state below to link to that state's child support enforcement's web site

Alabama
Alaska
Arkansas
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Additional Divorce Resources:

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