Need help getting your child support?

We asked the Department of Health and Human Services what you can do.

We know: How to Get Child Support

Who can help me with getting the child support I'm entitled to?

The state you live in should have what is called a Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program to help you. Look for the number of your local CSE Program in your phone book. You can also use a lawyer or private legal services.

What can the CSE program help me do?

Your State's Child Support Enforcement Program is available to help you:

  • Find the noncustodial parent
  • Establish legal fatherhood for children
  • Establish the legal support order
  • Collect child support payments

What things won't the Child Support Enforcement Program help me do?

Problems such as property settlement, visitation and custody are not, by themselves, child support enforcement issues and the CSE Program generally cannot enforce court orders relating to them. Parents must deal with these issues through the courts or other systems set up by the State.

Who can get help?

  1. Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish a child support or medical support order or to collect support payments can apply for child support enforcement services.
  2. An unmarried father can apply for services to establish paternity - a legal relationship with his child.
  3. A noncustodial parent whose case is not in the CSE Program can request services to make payments through the Program. Doing so can ensure that there is a record of payments made.

Where do I apply for help in obtaining child support?

Through your local child support enforcement (CSE) office. The number can be found in your telephone directory usually under the State/County social services agency.

Is there an application fee?

People receiving assistance under Medicaid, Foster Care, or cash assistance programs do not have to pay for CSE 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.

Are there any other costs?

Because child support agencies may recover all or part of the actual costs of their services from customers who are not in a public assistance program, there may be other costs to parents. These can include the cost of legal work done by agency attorneys and costs for locating a noncustodial parent. Such costs may be deducted from the child support before it is sent to you or may be collected from the noncustodial parent. Your local CSE office can tell you about the practices in your State.

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