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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is the role of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement?

    The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) works with states, tribes, local offices, employers, nonprofit groups, other federal offices, and other governments to secure financial support for children.

    The role of OCSE is to:

    • Help state and tribal child support programs follow federal law
    • Provide technical assistance and training in using tools to
      • Locate parents
      • Establish parentage
      • Set child support orders
      • Collect payments
    • Assess how well states and tribes are processing cases and collecting payments
    • Answer public inquiries
    • Provide outreach materials for parents, child support professionals, and employers
    • Gather and share information about promising practices in child support
    • Fund grant opportunities for research in program improvement
    • Serve as the central authority for international child support cases

    States have varying guidelines on some aspects of child support, but federal law outlines certain standards for all states, like mandatory medical support for children and income withholding for noncustodial parents.

    OCSE does not have direct access to case information and it does not collect payments directly from parents.

    Learn more about OCSE.


  • How can I contact my local child support office?

    Select your state on the map for contact information.

  • How much do the child support services cost?

    Some agencies have an application fee, usually no more than $25. In some instances this fee can be waived. Check with your local tribal or state agency for details.

  • How do I know if a tribe has a child support program?

    To find out if a tribe in your area has a tribal child support program, visit our contact map that lists all tribal child support programs by state.

  • How do I apply for tribal child support services?

    Contact your tribal child support agency to apply for services.  Each tribe will provide information about the documentation necessary to complete the application.

  • 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.

  • 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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