How Does Child Support Work?

Child Support Payments How Does Child Support Work?

How Does Child Support Work in Your State?

Child support is defined as an ongoing payment by a noncustodial parent to the custodial parent in order to assist with the financial support of their child. For many families in America, child support is a regular part of life. However, what happens if the noncustodial parent refuses to pay child support or has found themselves owing more than they are able to afford? Fortunately, DoNotPay can help custodial parents collect the back child support that is owed to them and can provide an easy way for noncustodial parents to reduce the amount of child support they owe when their financial condition has changed.

How Child Support is Calculated

Every state has its own formula for determining the amount of child support, which is often set when the child's parents become legally separated or divorced. However, all states consider at least some of these factors when calculating child support:

  • The income of at least the noncustodial parent, and often the income of both parents.
  • The percentage of time the child spends with each parent. More time with the noncustodial parent generally results in lower child support payments as it is presumed that the noncustodial parent is shouldering expenses for the child during their parenting time.
  • The child support or alimony from a previous marriage that either parent receives or pays.
  • Which parent is paying for health insurance or day care for the child and the cost of those services.

Each state also has a guideline amount that the court uses to determine child support. There are, however, some circumstances that permit the judge to set support at an amount higher or lower than the guidelines, including:

  • The custodial parent makes enough money that the guideline amount is not needed.
  • The paying parent makes enough money that they can afford to pay more than the guideline.
  • The noncustodial parent either does not have an income or does not make enough to pay their own living expenses and still meet their support obligations.
  • The child has special needs that require a higher amount of support.

What Can You Do If a Co-Parent Refuses to Pay?

Non-payment of child support is actually a federal crime that can result in up to 2 years in prison. If you are a custodial parent whose ex-partner refuses to pay child support, you have a few options to collect the back support you're owed, including the following:

  1. Send a demand letter to your spouse that details the amount of money they owe, their legal obligation to make these payments, and the consequences if they do not pay.
  2. Contact the child support enforcement unit in your community. Often, this unit can take collection actions such as garnishing the noncustodial parent's wages.
  3. Go back to court to seek a judgment in your favor, which can result in civil and criminal penalties for the noncustodial parent.

What Can You Do If You Are the One Who Owes Payments?

Child support payments are determined based on the incomes the parents are making at the time of their divorce or separation. It is a reality that incomes change. People lose their jobs or other obligations come into play. If you're unable to afford to make your child support payments, you can seek to have your support order modified to reflect your current circumstances.

The Difficulties of Getting Back Child Support Or Getting Your Child Support Obligation Modified

The process of seeking back child support or having a support obligation modified generally involves extensive research in order to learn about the divorce laws in your state or hiring (and paying for) an attorney to represent your case.

Easily Demand the Payments You Are Owed through    DoNotPay Or Request a Modification

DoNotPay makes it easier for parents to collect on late payments or request a modification of their child support order.

To Demand Child Support Payments Through DoNotPay

  1. Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.


  2. Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.


  3. Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.


That’s it! It’s that simple to start claiming child support.

Child Support Guides by State 

The process for claiming child support and child support arrears varies from state to state. Here is an overview of the child support laws in all states:


DelawareMinnesota Wyoming
South CarolinaKansasNorth Dakota
Rhode IslandNebraskaMississippi
New MexicoOhioArkansas
New HampshireNevadaArizona
AlabamaKentuckyWest Virginia
IdahoMassachusetts Georgia
Washington StateColoradoIndiana
CaliforniaNew YorkNew Jersey
FloridaNorth Carolina Wisconsin

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay not only makes it easier to deal with child support matters but also to complete a number of other tasks that take time out of your already busy day. Some of the tasks we can help with include:

Learn more about the ways DoNotPay can help you save time and sanity. Sign up or sign in today.

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