Child support requirements and regulations can vary from state to state. If the child moves from one state to another, the requirements for child support may change. While the states may have similar child support laws, it is important to know their variations to make sure that you do not face penalties.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
Child support is a monthly payment that one or both parents of a child pay to help with the cost of raising the child. In Montana, the non-custodial parent, or parent who spends less than half time with the child or children, typically pays child support. Nevertheless, a court can order either or both parents to make child support payments, even if they share joint custody.
How Do You Petition for Child Support?
You may apply for child support through the State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Child Support Enforcement Division (“CSED”). An application packet must be filled out. Either parent can apply for child support or even a non-parent. Any person applying for child support must include his or her name, mailing address, phone number, and social security number.
If it is a parent applying for child support, the parent must include his or her employer’s information, health insurance provider and policy number, and disclose whether the parent receives public assistance. The child’s name, social security number, date of birth, and health insurance information must also be included. Information regarding other children of the parents, including whether the parent is ordered to pay child support for the other child, is also required.
Once the application is accepted, child support may be ordered by the courts or by CSED. The order specifies how often and how much a parent is to pay for child support.
What If You Don't Pay Child Support?
CSED has a number of ways to enforce overdue child support, which include, but are not limited, to:
- Withholding income from sources such as the paying parent’s wages, salaries and bonuses and apply it to overdue child support;
- Reporting the paying parent to the consumer credit bureaus, thereby damaging the parent’s credit rating;
- CSED can intercept the paying parent’s state and federal tax returns and use it to offset past due child support; and,
- If the paying parent falls six or more months behind on child support, CSED has authority to suspend the parent’s professional or occupational, hunting and fishing, and driver’s licenses.
What Recourse Can the Other Parent Have if You Don't Pay for Support?
If child support is overdue, you can contact CSED who enforces child support through a non-judicial process. The process, however, can take a long time. If you don’t want to wait for CSED to act to resolve past due child support, you can always sue for child support in family court. Family court judges can issue orders to help enforce and collect child support that is due.
How Can You Stop Paying Child Support?
Child support payments terminate by the child’s graduation from high school or by the child’s 19th birthday, whichever happens later. Child support can end sooner if the child voluntarily emancipates before age 18, marries, or dies. Parents may extend child support for a longer period by written agreement. A court could order payments for a longer period based on the child’s needs.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
If you think your rights as a parent are being violated due to child support, then find a Montana family law lawyer today to help you understand your situation and take the next step to fix it.