Child Support FAQ
- What information about the non-custodial parent do I need?
- What if I don't have the non-custodial parent's Social Security Number?
- What if the non-custodial parent has left the state?
- How does establishing paternity work?
- What if he denies paternity?
- What will the caseworker need to know to try and establish paternity?
- What happens after paternity is established?
- What if the financial situation changes for the non-custodial parent or me?
- How am I assured that I will receive support payments?
- What if the non-custodial parent is self-employed and refuses to pay?
- What can I do if the non-custodial parent lives in another state?
- Whom do I contact for more information?
The most important information you can provide is the Social Security Number and his/her employer's name and address. Other helpful information includes names, addresses, and phone numbers of relatives, friends or former employers who might know where he/she works or lives.
Though Social Security Numbers are required for a number of legal documents like applications for professional licenses, commercial driver's licenses, divorce records, support orders, paternity determinations, etc., it is possible these documents were produced before the Social Security number was required. Child Support can subpoena information about bank accounts, insurance policies, credit cards, pay slips, and tax returns.
Your case worker may be able to get the Social Security Number with at least three of the following pieces of information: the parent's name, place of birth, date of birth, his/her father's name, and his/her mother's maiden name.
If you know the state where the non-custodial parent has moved, CSED can contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency in the other state and determine if the parent has indeed moved to that state. If there is a confirmation, the case can be transferred to the other state.
If you are not certain of the state where the non-custodial parent has moved, CSED can send a request to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS). The FPLS has access to a number of records such as: The Department of Defense, the National Personnel Records Center, and the Social Security Administration to name a few.
Beginning October 1, 1997, States began reporting newly hired employees to a National Directory of New Hires - which is now a part of the FPLS.
A father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity by signing a written admission of paternity. All states have a program which birthing hospitals give unmarried parents of a newborn the opportunity to acknowledge the father's paternity.
Under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), an acknowledgement of paternity becomes a finding of paternity, unless the man who signed the acknowledgement denies that he is the father within 60 days. Paternity determination is a necessary step in establishing a support order.
CSED can order genetic testing to determine paternity.
The caseworker will need to know as much information as you can give about the alleged father and the facts about your relationship with him. Some questions may be highly personal in nature, but the information is kept confidential.
After paternity is determined, a court order for support can be obtained to establish an order for child support. The support order will be based on the child's needs, obligor's ability to pay, custody arrangements and the child support guidelines.
The Child Support Enforcement Division may review child support orders every three years, or if either parent requests a review. Based on the financial circumstances, support orders may be modified.
Support orders since January 1994 must include a provision for wage withholding unless both parents and the courts agree on other payment methods. Under wage withholding, the support payment is deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck just as taxes, insurance premiums and other items are. Child Support then sends the check to the custodial parent.
Wage withholding offers advantages for all parties. First, is assures that the payment is made on the front end - thus the child is financially supported. Second, it is a clear written record for the non-custodial parent that the support payment was made. If the non-custodial parent is self-employed, arrangements for electronic funds transfer to CSED can be made.
There are instances where the non-custodial parent will not pay child support, and go out of his/her way to avoid the responsibility. These are the most difficult cases that do involve a great deal of time and effort. There are many provisions that now give the Child Support Enforcement Division the ability to force the issue when we have to. Parents who are in arrears on child support payments now face the possibility of having his/her occupational or professional license revoked, and/or driver's license revoked.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) makes interstate enforcement of child support obligations easier than in the past. This Act has procedures under which an enforcement official or private attorney can refer a case for action in another state. Interstate wage withholding can be enacted through the states' child support agencies. UIFSA also includes a provision where there is only one valid child support order, and also includes a provision where a State can work a case against an out-of-state obligor if certain conditions are met.
In addition, a non-custodial parent who flees to another state to avoid paying child support can be arrested. A non-custodial parent can also have his/her tax refund intercepted, and in a few cases, may come under the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
While this section doesn't cover all the possible situations that may occur, we hope it answers some of your questions regarding child support. If you have any questions regarding your individual case, ask your caseworker, or call the customer services hotline.
The time it takes to establish, collect, and send child support money depends a great deal on the case itself and the resources available to work the case. An informed parent can make the child support system work.
The Child Support Enforcement Division is always striving to improve our services - together we can work to benefit the lives of children in New Mexico.