Find child support offices, agency, enforcement, or division of child supportive services. Child support offices provide information on child support and custody laws, attorneys and lawyers, child support payments, collections, filings, and applications.
A Child Support Office is part of a national system for child support enforcement that is guided by federal law and implemented largely at the state level. Every state is required by law to operate a child support enforcement program and to establish an office or division specifically for that purpose. In most states, the Child Support Office is part of a human services or social services department or the Attorney General's Office. In a few cases, the Child Support Office is a division within the revenue department.
A State Child Support Office is responsible for ensuring that non-custodial parents make child support payments. A Child Support Office typically engages in all phases of the child support process, from locating non-custodial parents and establishing paternity to establishing child support orders and enforcing child support payments. In addition to child support payments, a child support order may also address a child's health care and medical support.
Child Support Offices have extensive authority in the enforcement of child support orders, including wage garnishment, filing liens on property, and suspending drivers' licenses and professional or trade licenses. Child Support Offices work cooperatively with the court system to enforce support orders. Many Child Support Offices also offer supportive services to help non-custodial parents in meeting their obligations through referrals to employment services or co-parenting and healthy fatherhood programs.
Some states have opted to decentralize child support enforcement programs and delegated operations to the counties. In these states, the counties administer the child support enforcement programs independently while the state maintains a Child Support Office responsible for oversight of county operations. In addition to state and county programs, four U.S. territories and more than 50 Native American tribes have established Child Support Offices.
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is housed within the Department of
Health and Human Services. The OCSE is charged with the oversight of all child support programs, conducting reviews and audits of state, territory, and tribal programs. States are required to submit plans for the implementation of their child support enforcement programs, which are subject to review and approval by OCSE. The OCSE also provides states and tribes with policy recommendations, training, and technical assistance. The federal government reimburses approximately two-thirds of the state Child Support Office costs.