What is a child support case?
A child support case is a legal proceeding brought on behalf of the child against a legally established non-custodial parent. It establishes the non-custodial parent's legal obligation to pay support for his/her child. Grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives that have a child residing with them can be assisted.
How is a person legally established as a parent?
A person legally is established as a parent by one of 3 ways:
A child being born or conceived during a marriage legally makes the husband and wife the parents of the child
Unmarried parents sign an affidavit of parentage
A Judgment of Filiation is granted by a Judge
Where do I begin?
You must contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) Support Specialist. Their number is: (866) 661-0005 ext. 7187. The specialist will then send a referral to the Family Support Division of the Prosecutor's Office. If you are currently receiving any type of public assistance then you are required to cooperate or you may lose some or all of your benefits. However, the receipt of public assistance benefits IS NOT a requirement to be eligible for legal help on these matters.
How is the case started?
The Family Support Division will contact you to set up an interview. At the interview, you will review and sign legal paperwork. These documents are filed with the Family Court, where a case number and Judge will be assigned. Then the Defendant must be served with the paperwork. There are several ways the Defendant can be served:
They can come into the office and pick up the papers
The papers can be sent by certified, restricted mail. (Only he/she can sign for them).
A Process Server can hand deliver the papers to him/her
How is the case completed?
A Uniform Support Order is a document signed by the Judge. It contains provisions for child care, health care and support. Child support is determined by using a legally required Child Support Formula. The earnings of each parent, OR their ability to earn is used to determine the support amount. The Order is served upon the defendant. The Friend of the Court (FOC) is then responsible for enforcement of the Order. If the absent parent does not pay, enforcement remedies are done by the FOC.