Options for Collecting Child Support:

  • Private Attorneys
  • IV-D Government Child Support Agencies
  • Representing Yourself in Court

Using A Private Attorney to Collect Child Support

 

 

Pro

Con

You have some control over what action the attorney takes

You can end up paying high attorney fees

You receive more personal service than you will with the government agency

Very few attorneys are child support enforcement specialists

Attorneys have limited access to locate and enforcement tools—especially if the non- paying parent is out-of-state

Things To Know If  You Hire An Attorney

Remember that the attorney works for you. Tell him/her exactly what you want to accomplish. If the attorney suggests that you accept an offer from the non-custodial parent’s attorney or from the non-paying parent, ask yourself:

  1. Will this assure that there is a way for me to actually collect the money due?
  2. Will this assure that my children have received all that they are due?
  3. Will this assure that my children get healthcare?

Remember:

If you make an agreement with the non-custodial parent and/or his/her attorney, you can not appeal the decision to the court. It is called an agreed court order.

If you are not satisfied with the “deal,” you are offered, you can request a full court hearing.

If you don’t agree with the court order, you may have the right to appeal the judge’s (hearing officer, referee, or master’s) order.

Using Title IV-D Government Child Support Agencies

Pro

Con

Low cost or often free, more enforcement tools are available to government child support agencies than to attorneys or you

Service delivery can be slow due to backlog of cases, or poor service due to government bureaucracy. You must be persistent to get action on your case.

Title IV-D Government Child Support Agencies

These agencies are required by Federal law to provide the following services:

  • Locate Absent Parents
  • Establish Orders
  • Establish Paternity
  • Enforce Orders
  • Modify Orders
  • Establish and Enforce Medical Support Orders
  • Distribute Payments within Two Days of Receipt
  • Operate New Hire Registry to Identify Non-custodial Parents Who Owe Support So Wages Can Be Attached
  • Attach State and Federal Income Tax Refunds to Collect Back Support
  • Seize Assets to Collect Support
  • More……

Representing Yourself In Court

Pro

Con

You have control over case

Not Knowing technical legal procedures

Having to confront your ex directly

The non-paying parent is very likely to have an attorney who may use legal technicalities to trip up someone representing themselves.

What You Need to Know About Representing Yourself In Court (Pro Se)

  • Best if only used for simple legal procedures such as income-withholding. Many people lose when representing themselves due to complicated technical legal issues.
  • Can only be used for civil court cases, such as Contempt of Court. Criminal prosecution can only be done by government attorneys, usually, the same office that prosecutes those who steal cars.
  • In some counties, the Clerk of Courts has pre-printed forms you can use. If not, a local college law library will have books with forms that you can photocopy.

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