Child Support Enforcement System

The Child Support Enforcement Program has been set up in the USA to ensure that all parents provide adequate medical and financial support for their children. It is a program that is recognized throughout each state in the US, locating absent parents, establishing paternity and enforcing support obligations relevant to each child.

The vision behind Enforcing Child Support was to ensure that parents recognized their responsibilities towards the welfare of their children and became accountable for the social and economic welfare of their children and subsequently their health, ultimately developing a sustained and positive relationship with each parent.

Consequently, when parental responsibility has been established it is necessary for the administrators of the Child Support Enforcement Program to instigate means by which the appropriate amounts of support payments are received on a regular basis and to take steps to recover the amount of any payments that are missed, for whatever reason.

Voluntary Payments

  • The overall intention of the Child Support Enforcement Program’s administration department is to ensure that payments are received regularly – while collections of any arrears are of secondary importance, although they are not forgotten.
  • The administration department has, however, established that the most suitable way of ensuring regular payments are made is to take each situation on a case-by-case situation, taking both parents’ individual circumstances into account each time.
  • The best way, for all concerned, is for the child support payments to be made on a voluntary basis as it maintains a positive act of co-operation between both parents and child as well.

You can find sites to make your payments on child support here

Court Involvement

  • Parents who reveal what a court regards as an ‘intentional violation’ are likely to be held in contempt of court. In such cases, despite this being a civil matter and not criminal in nature, the court can commit the erring individual to jail for anything up to 180 days.
  • The very threat of imposing a prison sentence is often enough to encourage an absent parent to pay. The court also has the jurisdiction to order an absent parent to prove to the court’s satisfaction a reason for non-payment.
  • A ‘notice of hearing’ will be issued by the Sheriff, often sent by certified post, to order the parent to ‘show cause’ before the court. The court then has to decide whether the parent’s non-compliance is a just and valid reason for non-payment of child support.

What can the child support enforcement agency do for you?

Non-Court Involvement
Some states support the parent’s salary being withheld if payment is not received. To ensure that absent parents remain visible to the authorities, the parent has to maintain an up-to-date record of changes of address and employment status. Similarly, non-compliance could result in federal interception of income tax refunds or lottery winnings in accordance with the Tax Intercept Program.

Regardless of the state the errant parent resides in, the Child Support Enforcement Division has the authority to cross state borders in the pursuit of non-payment of child support. In fact, so much support is provided across all the states that each state will pursue an absent parent wherever that individual lives.

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