What requirements does a family need to apply for child support?


In the United States, parents of children who have divorced or never married are required, under certain circumstances, to pay child support. Generally, agreements between ‘guardian‘ and “non-custodial” parents are adjudicated through the family court system. These agreements are not uncommon. In 2022, the Office of Child Support Enforcement within the US Department of Health and Human Services managed around thirteen million cases Across the country. The agency found that in 2017 “Among those [parents] who have a child support order, 58% received child support [… and] received a average of $5,381.

The custodial parents are those who carry the majority of expenses for the child as the the child is in his care more time. Although the non-custodial parent may spend less time with the child, they may still be required to share the costs of raising them.

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Child support requirements

In order to receive child support payments, the custodial parent will need to provide certain documents to the Department of Social Services or the Department of Children’s Services. These documents tend to vary from state to state and it is best to check with the relevant authority in your area to identify the complete list.

However, in most cases, agencies will need general information about the two parents and the children concerned by the agreement, whose information generally can be submitted online. Individuals submitting a claim should be prepared to submit a an official identity document, a proof of residence, the birth certificates of the children for whom you seek support, and contact details and employment information for both parties.

In states where these documents cannot be submitted online, they must be filed or sent to the competent agency.

Other documents you may need

Although not all states require the following documentation, a social worker can request it. These include proof of paternitywhich could take the form of a DNA test and your proof of income. Both may be necessary to establish the legal case for financial compensation.

Moreover, the Social security numbers of children and parents can also be requested.

In cases where a parent has stopped paying child support, the agency request a statement of past payments or agreements that were met on how much would be paid. In the event of divorce, these documents may also be requested to better situate the marriage and/or agreements reached at the time of the separation.


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