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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 program is authorized and defined by statute, Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The 1975 legislation (Public Law 93-647) added a new part D to title IV of the Social Security Act. This statute, as amended, authorizes Federal matching funds to be used for enforcing support obligations by locating nonresident parents, establishing paternity, establishing child support awards, and collecting child support payments.

The goal of the Child Support Enforcement Program 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.

A parent can be required to pay child support via income withholding. Past due child support can be collected from Federal and state tax refunds and or liens placed on property or sale of property. Uncollected child support can be reported to credit reporting bureaus. Professional or drivers licenses can be suspended for nonpayment of child support. Child support agencies have the power to freeze or seize accounts in financial institutions. In some states criminal charges can be brought against parents who are chronic deadbeats with large outstanding past due balances.

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.

According to the Handbook on Child Support from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Child Support Enforcement

There are four general types of noncustodial parents:

  • Those who are willing and able to pay,
  • Those who are willing but unable,
  • Those who are unwilling but able, and
  • Those who are unwilling and unable to provide support for their children.

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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