Collecting Child Support

Child support can be difficult to collect, even after a court order awards it to the custodial parent. This is a guide about collecting child support.
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August 2, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about collecting child support without a separation or divorce. Collecting child support without a legal separation or divorce may be handled voluntarily or sought through an attorney.

Paper art of stick figure man and woman with stick figure children separated by a torn dollar bill in the shape of a heart

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September 14, 2011 Flag

You can call or visit your county court house, it must be the county where you live. They should have a child support enforcement office located there, in the building. They can help you with all of the steps that need to be taken.

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If you are applying for help at your social services department, again in your county of residence, they also can help you with collecting child support from the absent parent.

By Crystal from Zebulon, NC

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February 28, 2012 Flag

There have been a lot of people lately asking whether or not federal benefits can be garnished for child support/back child support. There was a big article in my local paper, today, about this topic. 65% of these benefits have always been able to be garnished, but starting in March, the entire amount of the monthly benefits can be garnished.

This applies even when the children are adults. The reason this can be done when the kids are adults is because if the absent parent wasn't paying support while the kids were minors, the kids were receiving welfare. Therefore, when money is garnished from the absent parent's government benefits after the kids are grown, the money goes to pay the state back.

Hopefully this helps some of the people wondering about this topic.

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Source: Article was in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, but out of Washington.

By redhatterb from Sioux Falls, SD

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April 12, 2016 Flag

I have a question and hope you guys can help. I'm 28 and I found my dad. I would like to know can I still charge him for unpaid child support?

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April 13, 20160 found this helpful

And then there's the issue of whether you want a relationship with your dad. Going after him for money sounds to me like a great way to keep him out of your life.

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June 10, 2016 Flag

I'm currently 30. My parents divorced in 1991 or 1992 in Illinois where I currently reside. My father was ordered to pay child support and never did. He has since passed away back in 2007. He was married at the time of his passing while living out of state. Having said all this, does a chance exist of me still trying to collect back child support? Is collecting through Social Security even a legit option?

Thanks :)

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June 10, 20160 found this helpful

Who are you trying to collect from? Your dad's widow?

The point of child support is to support the child. It is unfortunate that your dad didn't pay that when you were little and could have really used it. But you are an adult now, and child support is not for adults. Besides the fact that your dad is no longer alive. I don't see Social Services garnishing the wages of a dead person.

I'd suggest you drop this. You apparently have some issues involving your dad, but it's time you drop this.

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February 23, 2016 Flag

My son is 19. We just found out his dad has been getting disability. Can my son get back pay from his dad?

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February 24, 20160 found this helpful

I think the age limit is 18 unless a full time student or the 19 year old is disabled himself. Go to socialsecurity.gov.

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February 19, 2016 Flag

My child is an adult and no longer lives with me. Her father owes back pay in child support that he is paying it out of his SSI. Will my daughter receive the check with her name on it because she is an adult or will I?

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February 22, 20160 found this helpful

You should call your local Bar Assn. & ask them where you can get an attorney (Attorney General) to defend you & collect the back money for you for free. You should have done that when your ex first started to jerk you around for the money. Good luck.

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March 15, 2016 Flag

If my son's dad is collecting retirement benefits can I collect child support? And how do I find out and get started? Thank you!

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March 15, 20160 found this helpful

Only SSA can answer your question. You can make an appointment and bring copies of birth certificate, child support order, etc.

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September 24, 2015 Flag

My daughter's father met her once, and hasn't seen her since. He gives fake addresses, switches phone numbers, and refuses to communicate. So when he stopped paying child support, it was like pulling teeth to find out why. Come to find out, he's been in the hospital for a month. I'm still not sure as to why, his condition, or for how long he's expected to be in there, because no one can give that information due to HIPPA. My question is this: If he's seriously incapacitated, such as being in a coma, what on earth do I do about the support of my daughter? Thank you for any words of wisdom you can provide, as we live under poverty guidelines and the support we receive greatly helps put food in her mouth.

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September 25, 20150 found this helpful

Addendum:

If the father is permanently unable to work because of medical problems, and has paid enough into the Social Security system, your child can collect benefits through Social Security.

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February 1, 2016 Flag

Can a biological father be made to pay child support for children who, because their mother having been re-married for 1 year, filed for and did receive survivors benefits from the Social Security Administration from the recently deceased spouse? No adoption took place, the children were not his biologically, and still carry the birth father's last name. The children were conceived out of wedlock, and paternity was never established. All children now over the age of 18. Thank you.

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February 1, 20161 found this helpful

Your description of the situation is complicated and I am guessing that you are not biologically related to the children in question. I suggest the biological father consult with an attorney experienced with child support and Social Security issues. Most attorneys do not charge for an initial consult, however, the biological father may need additional legal service to resolve the situation.

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August 7, 2011 Flag

Can my ex wife ask the courts to withdraw my back child support if my daughter is 21 years old now and they are not needing it? Also, because I am going thru some health and financial issues?

By Michael

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August 10, 20110 found this helpful

To answer your question, yes, your ex wife can ask the courts to withdraw, or "forgive", your back child support.

It's entirely up to her if she feels that she truly doesn't need the money, if she is tired of dealing with the hastle of you and the courts, and if she feels it is a burden lifted from her heart to forgive you.

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January 10, 2015 Flag

My friend's disabled daughter is 30, works, and gets state aid and he is still required to pay child support. She still lives with her mom and does have the mental capabilities to tend to herself. She even has a boyfriend that wants to marry her, but mother says no because she would lose the finacial help. How can he get free of this? He lost his job and they are taking him to court. He is $1,800 behind and sinking.

By Sharon E

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January 12, 20150 found this helpful

It appears that your friend has waited too long to really get the kind of help you are talking about.

One question - Does his daughter receive SSI benefits?

If not - why not?

You can Google "free legal assistance Florida" (your state of course as no one knows where you live).

There is usually a "search" site on the state site that you can enter "child support" and from there he may be able to contact someone to go to court with him.

Support payments will not "go away" so your friend should make the best of it and find a way to pay something every week/month as a judge will generally always look more favorably on a case where someone appears to be trying to do the right thing rather than just letting everything slide.

Without an attorney to represent him in court - he may be facing a jail term as many states now adopt this approach.

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January 23, 2014 Flag

Is it possible to receive anything for a child support case left running over a child's lifetime after the obligated parent has passed away? Father was deceased at (child's) age 20, now 25. I was told in a child development course discussion, that it is possible to receive the past due funds from the deceased parent's SS.

Especially since I am still considered dependent wise in the government's eyes and the case was definitely kept open. The only reason it wasn't "pushed" is because someone who is just not going to pay, isn't doing us any more good in jail... still, it stayed open.

By K Johnson

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January 24, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

You are going to have to talk to your local Social Security Office and Child Support Enforcement office. Most of the time if a deadbeat parent has to spend a little time in jail that will shape them up. Their driver's license can also be taken away and their income tax could have been garnished, providing you had been working with the Child Support Enforcement office. Also their wages can be garnished. There isn't any reason for the parent to be very far behind on child support.

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April 14, 2016 Flag

I'm 28 and have 2 brothers 27 and 29. We all have the same father. My mother raised us in Illinois. My dad owes 82000 in back support, but Indiana couldn't find him. That was where the order was so they transferred it to Illinois, but now Illinois said he doesn't owe it, but Indiana said he does. My dad is doing good and my mother is still trying to get out of debt from raising us. Could anyone help me out? Illinois also said your kids are grow up what do you want us to do. I have a kid and my son gets his money every week so if I stop paying for it when he hits 18 mine will be forgotten.

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April 14, 20160 found this helpful

Unfortunately, old unpaid child support cases, although still legally valid, are of little interest to the state agencies who have the responsibility to collect. Frankly, all child support state agencies are simply overwhelmed with the many current cases that need attention.

Assuming that you are not interested in a relationship with your father, you can consider legal action against him for the unpaid child support, however, this involves retaining as attorney and paying an upfront fee (often several thousand dollars) to even file an initial court action. If you know your father has good financial resources, you can request your attorney arrange a meeting of all parties to try to obtain a settlement to avoid further legal fees and costs.

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April 6, 2015 Flag

My mother was owed tens of thousands of dollars in child support. This was between 25 to 35 years ago. Back then in Philadelphia there was no enforcement. My father was murdered about 10 years ago and would have been about 75 today. Can my mother collect anything from Social Security or any back pay? They were married 20 years.

By Rich

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April 8, 20150 found this helpful

Your social security office will have information we don't have, so you will need to contact them. I do think your mother should be eligible for something because of the duration of their marriage.

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August 18, 2015 Flag

My father got approved for his SSI and received a portion of his back pay before he past away. He wasn't married at the time, I'm his only child and next of kin. I'm 35 years old now, but he owed back child support to my mother. Are we entitled to the rest of his SSI back pay that he was suppose to receive?

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August 18, 20150 found this helpful

Only the Social Security Administration can answer your questions. Call for an appointment at the local office and prepare copies of all pertinent information for your visit.

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March 9, 2016 Flag

If a father was never ordered to pay child support, is he still responsible to pay back child support, even if the child is a grown up now? We were never married and I never took him to court for anything. My son is 42 now, but I heard that his father should be held responsible for some kind of monetary support to the mother.

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March 10, 20160 found this helpful

At this late date, it will be very difficult to find a state or local agency willing to help you collect any past child support, especially with no legal order. The best, albeit, much more expensive route, is to consult with an attorney in your area who is experienced in child support issues regarding exactly what you can do and how much it will cost you in legal fees, costs, etc. An initial consultation is often free. Once you have this information, you can then decide if filing an action to demand payment is worth your investment of attorney and other legal costs and emotional difficulties for all concerned-especially your son etc.

You can consider legal aid in your area, however, if they even consider taking the case, you will wait a very long time for any possible results as they have many current cases to litigate.

Good Luck!!!

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July 11, 2015 Flag

My ex has recently gotten on SSD for his PTSD from the army, seven years. He has to pay child support of only $166 and wants me to add our child to his disability. However I have had a major wreck and am trying for disability myself. Would our child receive more if I take the small child support checks from his father until I am approved for mine and can add him? If I wait to add him under me will his father still have to pay child support then?

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July 11, 20150 found this helpful

You are going to have to talk to your local Social Security Office about this matter.

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February 16, 2016 Flag

My daughter has been receiving dependent benefits since she was about 2 mos. old. Her dad continued to work for himself earning unreported income while on SSDI and, before getting involved with another woman in 2012, he occasionally helped me pay some bills when I got very behind on them. He paid no more out of pocket to me while involved with this person and even lied about his income when I would ask for help paying anything.

In October of 2012 approximately, he got involved in the 1st relationship since we split up in 2008. Within 1 year he got involved in 2 different relationships with women, moved 3 times (in/out of his apt into 1st woman's home, then back into his apt, then out of his apt. and into a home he and his current GF were renting together, and had another baby (with current GF).

He promised that they were not going to file for SSDI dependent pay for this child they were expecting since he wasn't paying any ordered child support for our daughter and he knew we struggled financially even with the monthly dependent pay she got from SS.

He has a total of 5 children now, three are 29 years old or older from 2 previous marriages, our 7 y.o and his now 1 y.o daughter with his current GF. SS sent me a letter notifying me that he filed a claim for dependent's benefits on her behalf three months ago and that they would be cutting our daughter's monthly amount by 50%, as this other child has entitlement to half the total dependent benefits amount, and that our daughter was overpaid for 6 mos. (since they go back retroactively for 6 mos. prior to the date of filing if the child was born and respectively entitled to pay at that time) and that SS is going to pay her 6 mos. retroactive. His daughter has a legal right to the benefit; although, I am not happy for my daughter who has been getting 100% since she was 2 mos. old, and for which reason that I never filed for a court order for child support from him to pay for her as I am the custodial parent.

He states that he isn't working anymore since he takes care of their daughter during the week so they live on only his SSDI and paychecks from his GF who works full time. I would like to know if he could be made to pay me child support for at least the amount that our daughter is now losing from her monthly dependent's benefit. This would be approximately $300/ month. Keep in mind I get public assistance, and have had both Medicaid for her and EBT benefits since she was born. His and her daughter's birth and prenatal care like mine were all paid for and covered by Medicaid as I was unemployed and without insurance. She, although insured, was not covered for pregnancy healthcare benefits. He claimed disability and being on SSDI as the reason he couldn't be forced to cover the cost to have our medical care and birth of our kid.

How is child support calculated and does the formula for it vary by state? He chose to have another child without regard to the one we have together. Since his baby was born he no longer sees her on a weekly basis to do things together, he gets every other weekend, overnight Friday and Saturday per our visitation order, but rarely has her for more than one night and ends up calling me because she wants to come home, and brings her home; or he has something else planned during his visitation weekend. Never does he allow her over if she is ill, or he and his GF and/or their baby are ill. His relationship with his daughter has taken back seat since he had another child, and he now stays at home to care and watch his baby so his GF can work (which is the very thing he told me I should not be doing, but I was out working full time, or two part time jobs, and while going to school. He claimed he knew many female friends with children who had no problem juggling work, school, and single parenting).

I know his views and choices are not important when it comes to his financial responsibility to our daughter; but it does show an string of irresponsible choices he has made regarding having two children for which he took no financial responsibility for their births, nor paid any funds for monthly support or covered costs for medical/dental coverage on our daughter since her birth. He has a biased judgement about my parenting and ability to find and secure full time work and attend school. Apparently he sees nothing wrong with giving up working to care for their daughter, and isn't having to deal with school in order to secure a better job/new career either. All the time he has free, and he does not even try to see our daughter more. I guess we should be grateful that he comes to have lunch 1-2 times per month with her at her school and brings her McDonald's to eat. I am very sad for our daughter who is too young to understand things and often gets let down by her father who makes selfish choices and often spends very little time with her during his visitations which are never just him and her so she can get personal time with just her daddy.

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February 17, 20160 found this helpful

The situation you describe is complicated, however, essentially it appears that the father will not be able to pay additional child support if he is not working and has no other means of means of support. You can try filing an action with the help of an attorney experienced in child support laws if you are able to pay or a legal aid attorney in your area. This legal aid website has a list of legal aid resources by state that you can contact for help (scroll down for the list):

http://legalaid.uslegal.com/

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Parenting General Parenting Family FinancesSeptember 8, 2011
Guides
Paper art of stick figure man and woman with stick figure children separated by a torn dollar bill in the shape of a heart
Collecting Child Support Without a Separation or Divorce
Writing a child support check.
Paying Back Child Support
child support paperwork
Are Siblings Accountable for Back Child Support?
Child Support Money
Paying Child Support
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