Child Support Enforcement 25

About: Child Support

Getting the Government to Help Collect Your Support

You have a child. That child’s other parent (usually the father – but definitely not always) won’t pay child support. You can’t afford to pay your rent and grocery bill. How on Earth can you afford to hire a lawyer to go to court and get your child support order enforced?

This is such a rampant problem in the United States that every state has established a government office for child support enforcement. So, if you’re not getting child support payments, contact your state’s child support enforcement (CSE) office immediately. Links to the child support enforcement offices in all 50 states can be found on our Family Law Public Departments and Services page.

If you’ve never been to court and received a child support order before (and you’re not married to the father of your child), the CSE lawyers will represent you and your child in obtaining a judgment of paternity and an order of child support. You will need to provide the CSE office with as much information about your child’s father as possible so that they can locate him and serve him with the court papers. Unless he acknowledges paternity, a DNA test will be necessary. In addition to child support, CSE will seek an order for health insurance coverage for your child as well.

If you have a child support order in place (from a divorce or a previous paternity case) but no payments are being made, the CSE office will assist you in collecting the money due to you. There are several ways this can occur. If you or the CSE office know where your child’s father works, CSE will have a withholding order issued which will require your ex’s employer to withhold funds from his paycheck, instead paying that money to the state which will, in turn, pay it to you. In some states, CSE will also attempt to get unpaid alimonycollected as well (but they will not take cases that are solely alimony cases – without child support).

CSE can also intercept state or federal income tax refunds that might be paid to your child’s father if he is behind on his child support obligation. In some states, CSE will make efforts to have a delinquent parent’s driver’s license, hunting/fishing license or business license suspended until he or she addresses the unpaid support issue.

The final option is to file a criminal suit for non-payment or a charge of civil contempt of court. In either type of case, the deadbeat parent is usually given the option of paying child support in lieu of going to jail.

In most states, the CSE office will get involved any time a single mother applies for welfare benefits. It is the government’s viewpoint that it should not have to pay to help support a family if the father (or mother) is able to do so. In those cases, oftentimes, any child support collected will first go to reimburse the state for any welfare benefits paid out to the children (so that there is no “double dip” per se). If welfare benefits are not involved, there may be an annual collection or application fee due to the CSE office – but it’s usually about $25.

CSE cases can be periodically reviewed for necessary modifications (increases or decreases) to the support amount. And they can handle child support collections even if the obligated parent lives outside the state.

You may also be interested in this book about rights regarding child support, custody and visitation.


  • stepmom

    What about a biological mother who refuses to pay child support? She runs a business and hides her income in another’s name. She is ordered to fill out a financial form every few months and lies on the form. She claims to others that business is great – money is good and stable, but lies to the court. She is in contempt for all of 2009 child support. What can we do to make her contribute to her childrens’ lives?

    • M. Mazzei

      It is often very difficult to prove the other party’s true income when they are hiding income.

      If you file a motion for modification of support you are entitled to conduct discovery. You can isssue a request for copies of the other party’s tax returns and documents relating to their living expenses. If a party has living expenses well over the amount of income they are claiming they will have some explaining to do to the court!

  • Carol Davis

    We have been caught between states Mn is where original order was obtained. I was living in Florida and my kids father moved to Arizona. It has been a mess. The original order also included wage garnishment and tax intercept. Because there was a lack of communication between the states he has gotten off scott free. There was also an order to pay interest and arrearages and a COLA. None of this has happened. Every site I go to to try to find information on what I can do to get this taken care of – all of the states claim they are “firm” “strict” with non paying fathers – but none of the three states are doing anything to collect. We have not received child support for more then 5 yrs. I have four children that have been left with only the support I can provide. It would be different if their father had no money but he is set for life. He stated he is not paying child support because I left him so I should be responsible for our children on my own. I left him after I found out he had molested 2 of my three daughters. I went back to MN and filed charges in the counties this happened in – they interviewed him, and stated since there was no physical evidence this case would be nearly impossible to prove. As my daughters were going through counciling Dept of Children and families stated if he were in the state of Florida they had more then enough evidence to prove this. But MN had jurisdiction. Florida closed the case with the finding of molestation by their father. Now he is being permitted by lack of support in “long arm of the law” child support enforcement, to get away with not paying a penny for the support of his children. He is a Sr. Elder in Church of God in Christ, noone will listen to the position this allows him to be in in counciling laymen – members of this chuirch in vulnerable situations he is counciling. He is a pillar – a mentor ~ in his church. He is at least $70,000 past due in child support – again – we are the ones being punished – because I left him.

  • L Little

    I have a current child support order in the state of Illinois in the amount of $79.20 bi-weekly. However, biological father is in arrears almost $8,000.00 (per state disbursement unit) and has not made payments since 2006. I do have a court date set in a month for a motion to raise child support and order respondent to pay rear child support. He now has a new job and I was told that I can fill out a new NOTICE TO WITHHOLD INCOME (before our court date) with new employers information and send it to the new employer. Can I list the amount of past due support and have that deducted with the ordered $79.20 biweekly or will I need to have a judge grant this. (The amount of arreage is from the circuit clerk case history audit listing).

  • Miller

    My step daughter came to live with us for about 8 months, her father didnt ask for child support but his stoped while she was with us. now that she has moved back to her mothers it looks as though she claimed to child support enforcement that the child had been living with her when we have proof that she wasnt. His monthly statement from child support enforcement jumped about 2000$ in one month (nearly 10 months worth) can she legally get away with this.

  • single mom

    I had my child @ age 20, so I was very young & stupid…. I met the father @ my work, so through my whole pregnancy we worked together & he knew I was saying he was the father. I had the baby, & he never came to the hospital(I did not put him down on the birth certificate), however he called to check on us when I returned home to my fathers house. He then started saying he was not the father & wanted to give me names of three of his friends so i could recieve public aid, because he said after they did 3 paternity test wth no matches they would just give me assistance(I was devistated looking @ my baby sitting in the car seat next to me) I didn’t talk to him again, however I took the baby by his parents house to make sure they knew & they called me a whore & told me to leave..I didn’ fight for parternity test there after, because @ that point I questioned if those type of people should be involved in my childs life, and if I fought for him to pay I thought he might just take him out of spite & not take care of him..I let it go & raised the baby on my own, with no state aid..Its been 14yrs now & My dad still lives in the same house with the same phone number he had when I lived their dating the father..He’s never attempted to contact, nor have I until my child asked to meet his dad..My question is has it been to long to request child support and could I be eligiable for back child support?..As he gets older its harder & harder to finacially support him..Thanks for your time

  • At A Loss

    I am the custodial parent of 2 children under the age of four. Recently, their Father stated that he is going to be retiring from his present employer in order to pull out his 401k and stock. He has a very good job and he has a CS obligation of almost $290 weekly. He intends to take ALL of his retirement $$$ buy a home and live off of the rest for a year until he is able to go back to that job (if you retire from this company, you are able to go back to work after 365 calender days) He’s basically going to squander the $$$ and make NO attempt to pay CS. What can I do?

  • Kim

    My ex says he will just “serve time” instead of paying a $90,000 back child support amt for our two children. Is this even possible? Is this an option in Texas or any other state?

  • David Kent

    Lets just face it people you aint gettin no $$$$ MONEY $$$$ from your Childs Dead-beat Daddy so you might as well let you child do with out or get a real job!!!!……

    • A REal Father

      Wow You Must Be One Of The Deadbeat Dads That All Of These Strong Women Are Talking About……..When Will All Of You Grow Up And Understand That Its Not About You And The Mother Its About The Child “YOU” Help Make……………Its Guys Like You That Give Real Men A Bad Name………. Some Day God Will Judge U For Turning Your Backs On Your Children Not the Fact That You Are Just An Asshole To The Mothers!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • I

    What abot when the cse doesn’t help? My husband’s ex and him have 3 children of which I have taken care of of the past 5 years. The kids mother does not pay child support, or even offer to buy shoes, clothes, or other accessories. The cse has put felonies on her but when she shows up to court the judge always drops it and her arrest warrant. I feel that just because she is female no one will do anything to her. She is over 10,000 behind and just has to pay the bare minimum. So far she has been to court 4 times and the judge just keeps doing the same slaps her on the wrist and tells her no no and then lets her go. Nothing changes she doesn’t pay and the judge knows this as well as the CSE. What else can we do?

  • hope

    I am goin through dhs to get child support but he stop paying last nov is there anything i can do? he work jobs where they pay him cash money and he wont give me his new address i dont know what i can do please help

  • Caelie

    If my ex is going to retire at 46 but I know he is still going to work, he is claiming that he will go to the attorney general and request a reduction in the child support. Can he do this? He will retire from the military but he cant live on the retirement so he will still be working.

  • karla

    i have a court order that the father of my daughter needs to pay child support in the amount of $481.00 a month, he is currently past due 3 months now 4 months. Up to date he has not paid anything and everytime i ask him about it he acts like he doesnt know what im talking about. Im filing papers for the court to withhold his wages, but my concern is, if i do that will it be less that i receive? or will it be better for me to find a CSE office? please advise

    • Krystle

      Contact CSE right away. Depending on which state your living in they usually get right on it when it comes to the fathers not doing their part. My first sons father is 5 months behind but is now having to give 1,500 from his taxes to me. court ordered. and his child support is going to be raises now. he basically lost his chance with have to pay 50$ weekly. Now its going to go up to 100 or more weekly. CSE really does their best to help track dead beat fathers and their income.

  • Darlene

    I am currently paying my x husband child support because he was fired from his job of 20 years. My salary compared to his unemployment means I am paying him close to $800 a month. Court order states he is supposed to be looking for full time employment by applying for 5 jobs per week then supplying me with that documentation monthly. When he randomly sends it to me, it isn’t in compliant with the order. Other than hiring my attorney again to enforce this motion, is there anything I can do above and beyond asking for him to be compliant? Please advise. I reside in California.

  • Naomi

    I live in FL I receieve food assistance and since I’m pregnant I needed to apply for medical as well because my job right now offers NO medical benefits. Will it be MANDATORY to place the child’s father on Child Support?

  • Naomi

    I live in Florida and was wondering if it were MANDATORY to place my child’s father on Child Support if I needed to receive ANY assistance or is it that way just for cash assistance?

  • Charles Meredith

    I leaved with my girlfriend for the first 3yrs in my son’s life before moving out. After moving our I continue to give her money and pay for the rent of the house. She then took my to court for child support after finding our I have started dating. At the court she refuse the back child support because I was taking care of my son. Now that she found it that I am married she is trying to take me bck to court for a back child support. Can she do that?

  • i like beer

    Child Support is just a legalized form of extortion. There is NO WAY that my 14 year old daughter can’t be raised on less than $1218 a month, which is what my gold-diggin ex gets from me.

  • alejandra

    I have been living with my father for a few months and am already 18 an was un aware that my mother was still recieving child support checks an this last one im trying to get from her she wont give me who do i call or what do i do ?

  • Cat

    I need help….My child father is refusing to pay…he hinding that he is a disable vet. The child support says that they can not touch his benfits…he owes twenty thousand to the child…but buys a 169,000 .00 house but cant pay me…I work a 40 hour a week job at a prison but still struggling to buy food and clothed the child …can someone help me

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  • layla pierce

    Mychilds father is ordered to pag 711 a month i havent recieved it due to me being on assistance this order started in october. I wasnt sure if i should call of assistance because im paying the household bills with it at the moment and it comes on time when my bills are due. The order is way more than i recieve from the state the question is. How long does it take to recieve your child support once your no longer recieving cash assistance from the state.?