The Office of Child Support Services
The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is the federal agency that oversees the national child support program. It partners with federal, state, tribal and local governments and others to promote parental responsibility and ensure equitable program outcomes. You can visit the OCSS website to learn more about its mission, vision, values, and services.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is a division of OCSS that assures that support (both financial and medical) is available to children through locating parents, establishing paternity, identifying support obligations, and enforcing those obligations. You can contact the OCSE by phone or email, or find a local child support office near you.
The Legal Obligation of Parents
Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to provide financial and medical support for their children, even when they live in separate households. Child support programs help parents establish paternity, set and enforce child support orders, collect and distribute payments, and modify orders when appropriate.
Implementation Of Child Support Orders
State and local child support agencies implement policies to establish fatherhood, set realistic orders, collect payments, and reduce child support debt. They also develop innovative strategies to improve the well-being of children. You can find the contact information for state and tribal child support agencies on the OCSS website.
Child support offices and enforcement agency Programs and Services
Child support offices and enforcement agencies provide a variety of programs to help parents establish and enforce child support orders. Some of the most common programs include:
- Paternity establishment: Child support offices can help parents establish paternity, which is the legal determination of the father of a child. This is important for establishing a child support order.
- Child support order establishment: Child support offices can help parents establish a child support order, which is a court order that requires one parent to pay financial support to the other parent for the care of their child. Child support orders are based on the income of both parents and the needs of the child.
- Child support enforcement: Child support enforcement agencies can help parents enforce child support orders. This may involve taking steps such as wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and driver’s license suspension.
- Parenting education: Child support offices and enforcement agencies often offer parenting education programs to help parents learn about their rights and responsibilities, and to develop effective communication and conflict resolution skills.
- Mediation: Child support offices and enforcement agencies may offer mediation services to help parents resolve disputes related to child support. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party helps parents communicate and reach an agreement.
In addition to these programs, child support offices and enforcement agencies may also offer other services, such as:
- Help locating non-paying parents: Child support offices and enforcement agencies can help parents locate non-paying parents. This may involve using a variety of resources, such as tax records, employment records, and social media.
- Help with back child support: Child support offices and enforcement agencies can help parents collect back child support. This may involve taking steps such as wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and property liens.
- Help with child support modifications: Child support offices and enforcement agencies can help parents modify child support orders if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or a change in the number of children receiving support.