The Iowa Department of Human Services has created the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) which is designed to help families get the child support they need to meet the financial and health needs of children. The CSRU has offices throughout the state and provides services that allow:
- families to get information about their child support case (including payments made);
- a parent to view balances owned and make payments for his or her case; and
- a parent to quickly update his or her employment information.
The CSRU is a valuable resource, but it cannot substitute the services of an experienced child support lawyer.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
Typically, non-custodial parents (those parents who do not have full-time custody of the child(ren) are required to pay child support. In Iowa, to determine the amount of child support owed, a parent’s monthly income is considered. Monthly income amounts are found after taking all appropriate deductions from the parent’s gross monthly income. Deduction can include:
- federal and state income taxes,
- certain pension plan payments, and
- union dues.
Appropriate deductions do not include:
- housing costs,
- charitable deductions,
- savings and other voluntary investment plans, and
- car payments.
Have a lawyer review your income to ensure that you are being asked to pay the appropriate amount in child support. Child support is designed to protect the interests of children but parents must be able to house, cloth, and feed themselves as well.
How Do You Petition for Child Support?
The Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) allows for child support petitions to be completed and submitted through an online process. The form requires a great deal of information about the other parent, ranging from social security number to any distinguishing markings like a scar or tattoo. This is so that the IDHS can best identify and locate the other parent.
There is also an application fee and an annual fee for IDHS to help an applying parent to locate and receive child support on a regular basis. Given the complexity of the application process, an experienced child support attorney can be critical in ensuring that all forms are properly completed and that child support payments are appropriate.
What If You Don't Pay Child Support?
As with most states, in Iowa a petition can be made to a court asking for an order to garnish wages if child support is not being paid (or if it the proper amounts are not being paid). Failure to comply with a court order can lead to a contempt of court charge which can come with imprisonment.
They may also withhold your federal tax refunds, take money directly from your bank account, and put a hold on your passport if you owe more than $2,500 in child support. A hold on your passport can restrict or limit the use of your passport, deny an application for a new one, refuse to renew, or take away your passport.
How Can You Stop Paying Child Support?
Very specific legal steps must be taken to limit or end child support payment requirements. There are certain events that can end child support, such as proving that the child is not biologically from the paying parent and the child becoming emancipated. But if the formal steps need to be taken, and if the paying parent simply stops child support then they may face serious consequences. It is important to take the formal steps, and contacting your local child support lawyer can help this process.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
Finding the appropriate child support lawyer is critical. If you need help with petitioning or adjusting child support, then contact a local Iowa family law lawyer today to discuss your case.