Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What documents do I need to bring to the child support office?

    Bring as much of the following information as possible. This will help the child support office locate the parent, establish paternity, and establish and enforce your child support order.

    • Information about the noncustodial parent
    • Name, address and Social Security number
    • Name and address of current or recent employer
    • Names of friends and relatives, names of organizations to which he or she might belong
    • Information about his or her income and assets -- pay slips, tax returns, bank accounts, investments or property holdings
    • Physical description, or photograph, if possible
    • Birth certificates of children
    • If paternity is an issue, written statements (letters or notes) in which the alleged father has said or implied that he is the father of the child
    • Your child support order, divorce decree, or separation agreement if you have one
    • Records of any child support received in the past
    • Information about your income and assets
    • Information about expenses, such as your child’s health care, daycare, or special needs
  • Is there an application fee?

    People receiving assistance under Medicaid, Foster Care, or cash assistance programs do not have to pay for child support services. For all others, a fee of up to $25 is charged, although some states absorb all or part of the fee or collect payment from the noncustodial parent.

  • Will location and enforcement services cost more if my agency is dealing with another state or jurisdiction?

    Possibly.  It depends on what your child support agency has to do to find the noncustodial parent and establish regular payment. The more solid information and leads you provide, the more efficiently your case can be worked. Service fees vary by state depending on whether you are receiving cash assistance. Your caseworker should be able to tell you more about these costs.

    The Child Support Handbook has more information about fees.

  • What does the child support program do?

    The child support program--a federal, state, tribal and local partnership--collects child support.

    Visit the About section of our website to learn more about program services. The Child Support Handbook is another resource for families to learn about our program.

  • What can I do to make sure my child support order amount is fair?

    The most important thing you can do is appear at the child support hearing. You will receive a notice about the hearing. The notice will tell you where to go and what documents to bring. When both parents appear and bring the necessary documents, the agency or court will be able to make a fully informed and fair decision about the amount of the child support order.

  • Can I establish paternity even though the father of my child lives in another state?

    Yes, you can pursue a paternity establishment action even if your child’s father lives in another state. Your state may be able to claim jurisdiction and establish paternity if the father has lived in your state, the child was conceived in your state, or there is another basis for your state to have authority over the case.

    Otherwise your state can petition the jurisdiction in which your child’s father lives to establish paternity under their laws. Often, genetic tests will be ordered to help prove paternity. Ask your caseworker for specific information about the laws in your state and the state where the other parent lives.

  • How can I access payment information on my child support account?

    Contact your child support office for payment information. They can provide you with information about:

    • Making a child support payment (online, by phone, or in person)
    • Accessing payment history or payment records
    • Setting up recurring payments
    • Electronic payment options for making or receiving payments

    Some state websites allow you to access your payment information online; the federal website does not.

  • How can I file a complaint about my local child support office?

    Each state has a formal complaint process to address customer service issues.  Ask your state child support agency for help.  Take a look at our state child support contact map for contact information.  The state child support website can provide additional information about its specific process for filing a complaint.  Some states have complaint forms available online.

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