< Back to Search

Frequently Asked Questions about Tribal Child Support

Published: August 28, 2012
Information About:
Families, Tribal Child Support Agencies
Types:
FAQs

Tribal Child Support Program

Tribal Families

Q1: The father of my child is a Native American from another Tribe, but our child support order is through my Tribal court. How can I enforce my Tribal court order?
Q2: My child and I are Native American, but the noncustodial parent is not.  How can I pursue child support?
Q3: The noncustodial parent is Native American and living on a reservation, but my child and I are not.  How do I pursue child support?
Q4: My ex-husband is not a Native American, but he works on the reservation.  Will his employer withhold income from his check to make the child support payment?

Didn’t find your question? Take a look at other OCSE FAQs.

Q1: The father of my child is a Native American from another tribe, but our child support order is through my tribal court.  How can I enforce my tribal court order?

A1:  Tribes must comply with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) and honor valid orders from another jurisdiction. FFCCSOA is a preemptive federal law that applies to all tribes, whether or not a tribe is receiving federal funding for a IV-D program. Many tribes, though not receiving direct federal funding, will have a person or a department that provides assistance on child support matters. Contact the administrative offices for the tribe or the tribal court to learn if someone can provide assistance with your child support. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) maintains a Directory for Indian Nations in the United States.

Q2: My child and I are Native American, but the noncustodial parent is not.  How can I pursue child support?

A2: If your tribe has a child support program, you can apply for services. The tribal child support program, if necessary, will refer your case to the appropriate state child support program for assistance.  If your tribe does not have a child support program or provide child support services, you can apply to the state program for services.  Both state and tribal child support programs must accept all applications and provide all child support services required by law or regulation. When the obligor is non-Indian, a state may be better able to provide services because the obligor is subject to state jurisdiction.

Many tribes, though not receiving direct federal funding for a child support program, will have a person or a department that provides assistance on child support matters.  Contact the administrative offices for the tribe or the tribal court to learn if someone can help with your child support or provide you with tribal procedures for enforcement of child support orders. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) maintains a Directory for Indian Nations in the United States.

Even if a tribe does not have person or department that provides assistance with child support matters, tribal courts must comply with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), 28 U.S.C. 1738B.  A child support order should be registered with the tribal court. When a tribe gives full faith and credit to a state order, income withholding and other enforcement actions can then be taken through the tribal court.

Q3: If the noncustodial parent is Native American and living on a reservation, but my child and I are not, how do I pursue child support?

A3: If the tribe has a IV-D child support program, you can apply for services to the tribal child support program.  Both state and tribal child support programs must accept all applications and provide all child support services required by law or regulation and cooperate with other state and tribal child support programs.  When the obligor is a Native American, a tribe may be better able to provide services because the obligor is subject to tribal jurisdiction.

Many tribes, though not receiving direct federal funding for a child support program, will have a person or a department that provides assistance on child support matters.  Contact the administrative offices for the tribe or the tribal court to learn if someone can help with your child support or provide you with tribal procedures for enforcement of child support orders.  The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) maintains a Directory of Indian Nations in the United States.

Even if a tribe does not have person or department that provides assistance with child support matters, tribal courts must comply with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), 28 U.S.C. 1738B.  A child support order should be registered with the tribal court. When a tribe gives full faith and credit to a state order, income withholding and other enforcement actions can then be taken through the tribal court.

Q4: My ex-husband is not a Native American, but he works on the Reservation. Will his employer withhold income from his check to make the child support payment?

A4: If the tribe is operating a child support program that is federally funded, your caseworker should send the income withholding order to the tribal IV-D child support agency. The Tribal child support agency will process the income withholding order and serve it on the tribal enterprise.

If the tribe is not receiving direct federal funding to operate a child support program, your caseworker should contact the tribe's administrative office or tribal court and ask what the tribal procedures are for honoring an income withholding order. In most instances, the tribal enterprise will honor the withholding order.

Many tribes, though not receiving direct federal funding for a child support program, will have a person or a department that provides assistance on child support matters.  Contact the administrative offices for the tribe or the tribal court to learn if someone can help with your child support or provide you with tribal procedures for enforcement of child support orders.  The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) maintains a Directory of Indian Nations in the United States.

Even if a tribe does not have person or department that provides assistance with child support matters, tribal courts must comply with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), 28 U.S.C. 1738B. A child support order should be registered with the tribal court. When a tribe gives full faith and credit to a state order, income withholding and other enforcement actions can then be taken through the tribal court.