To get child support, the custodial parent must contact the child support office within the state where the parent and the children reside and complete an application to apply, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement. Paternity must be established before child support can be ordered.
Once the custodial parent has completed an application providing information about the children, finances and expenses, the state child support office proceeds with the case by legally establishing the identity of the father through genetic testing if the father's identity is questioned, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement. When paternity has been established, and a father is identified, the state child support office collects financial information from both parents and expenses from the custodial parent and establishes a child support order at a hearing or mediation.
Each state stipulates a percentage of income based on the number of children to calculate child support amounts. Once the child support order is legally established, the state child support office enforces the order by establishing payment options, such as income withholding or direct payments. If the noncustodial parent does not adhere to the child support order, the office of child support may collect by seizing federal payments, property or bank accounts or suspending passports or driver's licenses, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement.