How Do You Apply for Child Support?


Quick Answer

A custodial parent seeking to apply for child support services needs to contact a local child support office because the official guidelines vary according to state, as the United States Office of Child Support Enforcement, or OCSE, explains. The applicant's financial information, including income, assets, parental expenses and records of any past child support payments, are required for the application. Other required materials include the child's birth certificate, proof of paternity and details about the non-custodial parent.

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Full Answer

The three steps that are involved in collecting child support include establishing paternity, establishing a child support order and enforcing the child support order, according to the OCSE. The first step involves legally determining the father of the child. While many men willingly acknowledge paternity, the local child support agency can arrange for genetic testing for those who are not certain that they are a particular child's father.

When establishing the child support order, the agency utilizes official state-specific child support guidelines to determine how much a parent should contribute toward raising the child. Information about the whereabouts and workplace of the non-custodial parent is necessary to enforce the order. The local child support office utilizes the help of state agencies such as the Federal Parent Locator Service to locate parents whose whereabouts are unknown, as the OCSE indicates. Direct withholding from the obligated parent's pay check is the most effective method used by the agency to enforce a child support order.

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