Child Support Services refers to a division of the Department of Health and Services that provides custodial parents with assistance in child support matters. Child support service agencies help to establish as well as enforce child support orders that have been issued through the court system.

Some child support service agencies also maintain a disbursement unit that processes child support payments. The non-custodial parent usually submits payments through such units, who may then deduct portions of the payment if the recipient parent owes money to the government. The disbursement unit will then forward the remainder of the payment to the custodial parent.

What Types of Functions Does Child Support Services Perform?

Child support service agencies provide a variety of services related to child support.  Some of these functions include:

  • Assisting with creating and reviewing support orders for the purpose of ensuring fairness and adequacy of child support payment amounts.
  • Establishing paternity and identification of parents.
  • Locating non-custodial parents who should be paying child support.
  • Enforcing support payments.
  • Reviewing child support orders that need modification.

Also, some child support services departments provide electronic services online.

Is Child Support Services Different from Child Support Enforcement?

Most child support service agencies also provide enforcement functions. It is common for a state agency to be named “Child Support Services and Enforcement,” or something similar. However, many agencies have a separate division devoted specifically for child support enforcement matters. 

Child support enforcement usually has to do with obtaining payments from non-custodial parents who have failed to make payments. On the other hand, child support services often get involved at earlier stages, for example during the calculation process for support orders.  Also, the term “child support services” is usually associated with a broader range of functions than child support enforcement activities. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Issues with Child Support Services?

If you need assistance with child support matters, you may wish to hire a lawyer for advice. child support attorneys can help you with a number of issues, including child support orders, child support enforcement, and paternity matters. Also, if you feel that a child support services department has made an error or shortcoming with regards to child support payments, your attorney can assist you in filing a complaint.