What YOU Don't know about the
Idaho Child Support System

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The Idaho Child Support division believes that parents are responsible for the support and health of their children. In cases of divorce or single parenthood, both parents should maintain their responsibilities for the sake of the child.

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By helping parents meet their obligations, child support services enhances the well-being of children. They also promote positive parental involvement, and improves the self-sufficiency of families.


Idaho child support services can help either parent with the following:


Parent locating


If you have lost contact with the other parent,Idaho child support services may be your answer in helping you to locate the other party. Idaho Child Support Services uses a powerful digital information system working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help your family. When a parent’s address or employment information is missing or incorrect, the information system will automatically access that information from agencies such as:

  • Department of Health and Welfare
  • Department of Labor
  • National Directory of New Hires
  • Department of Transportation
  • Federal Parent Locator Service


CSS also has a team of professionals who are very skilled at researching a parent’s information.


You may Ask for the Other Parent’s Address You can ask Idaho Child Support Services to provide the other parent’s address to you. They will then notify the other parent of the request and ask for written authorization to release the requested information. When that request is received with written authorization, Idaho child support services will provide to you the other parent's address.

If you have questions concerning this, please contact Idaho Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868.


How to Establish Legal Fatherhood


Parents may establish legal fatherhood through a simple and inexpensive acknowledgment process. If you have questions, contact Idaho Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868.

If parents do not want to sign an acknowledgment form, Idaho Child Support Services will request parents take a genetic test. If the test indicates the man is the biological father, or if he refuses to take the genetic test, Idaho Child Support Services will ask a court to name him as the legal father and order child support. Idaho Child Support Services may also ask the court to order him to pay for the genetic testing and all legal fees.

You may choose to use your own private attorney to help you through the legal process of establishing paternity and or fatherhood. If you do, please notify Idaho Child Support Services so that we can coordinate our efforts.


How to Acknowledge Legal Fatherhood


Parents who are sure the man is the father of a child may acknowledge legal fatherhood by completing these steps:


Step 1: Get the Acknowledgment Form


The acknowledgement form is printed on green paper and is titled "Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit" (HWHP00). Forms are available at Vital Statistics and Idaho Child Support Services offices. Forms are also available at many hospitals.


Step 2: Understand Your Rights and Your Responsibilities


When you sign a voluntary acknowledgment form, you are stating that you have received written and oral notification of the rights and responsibilities of establishing legal fatherhood. A written notice is provided on the back of the acknowledgment form. A oral notice means someone has explained the information on the back of the form to you.

If you have not received oral notice, you should contact the Idaho Child Support Services office nearest you. A 10-minute video is available, or if you have any additional questions or concerns about acknowledging paternity. You may also speak with a representative.


Step 3: Complete the Acknowledgment Form in full


The father completes the first section of the acknowledgment form. The mother completes the second section of the form.

If the mother was married to someone other than the biological father during any part of her pregnancy, her husband shall complete the bottom section of the acknowledgment form. The child’s father, the mother, and the mother’s husband must all sign the acknowledgment form to name the biological father as the legal father and have his name listed on the birth certificate. If not, the husband is considered the legal father and his name will be listed on the child’s birth certificate.

The acknowledgment form is a permanent and legal record and must be typed or printed in ink. Do not use a pencil. If you make a mistake, you must start over with a new form. Do not use correction fluid or correction tape to cover errors. Discrepancies or alterations on the forms may damage their legal credibility which can be a distraction in the future.

The acknowledgment form must be filled out completely, and both parents’ signatures must be notarized in order for the form to establish legal fatherhood. Without this information and the notarized signatures, the acknowledgment will not be accepted by Vital Statistics. In instances where information is not available, write a brief explanation at the bottom of the form.


Step 4: Sign and Notarize the Acknowledgment Form


Your signature is an acknowledgment of your child’s paternity and verifies that you received written and oral notification of the rights and responsibilities of establishing legal fatherhood. All signatures on the form must be original, and each signature must be notarized.


Step 5: Send the Acknowledgment Form to Idaho Child Support Services


Send or deliver the acknowledgment form to your local Child Support Services office. The $13 filing fee is waived for parents with a Child Support Services case.

If you complete the acknowledgment form at the hospital when your child is born, the hospital staff submits the form, along with the birth certificate information, to Vital Statistics. The $13 fee is waived if the form is submitted within ten days of your child’s birth. If you want to order an updated birth certificate from Vital Statistics, there is a $13.00 fee.


If You Have some Doubts After You Sign the Acknowledgment Form


Either parent (or the husband/ex-husband) has 60 days from the date the acknowledgment is filed with Vital Statistics to rescind (or take back) the acknowledgment. The parent may sign a Rescission of Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit form and file it with Vital Statistics. Rescission forms are available at Vital Statistics or at your local Child Support Services office.

After 60 days have passed, the acknowledgment can be challenged only in court.

If an acknowledgment is rescinded, Vital Statistics places the birth certificate on “hold” and does not issue copies until legal fatherhood is determined by a court. Either a private attorney or Child Support Services can help you establish legal fatherhood through the entire court system.


Getting a Idaho Child Support Order


Idaho child support orders are signed by a judge and they order a parent to pay child support and to provide medical coverage, if it is available through their employer. If you do not have a child support order, Child Support Services can help you through the legal process to get one. To begin the process, Child Support Services sends you a letter requesting information from you and explaining what you must do. If you choose to hire your own private attorney, please notify Child Support Services


Determining a Child Support Amount


Child support amounts are set using Idaho Child Support Guidelines. The income of both parents, number of children each parent supports, cost of medical insurance premiums, and child tax credit are all considered when determining a child support amount.


Legal Costs of Getting a Child Support Order


Because getting a child support order involves attorneys and courts, Child Support Services must charge for legal services. The amount charged for the services is significantly less than hiring your own private attorney.

  • If the other parent does not contest the Idaho child support order, and a default order is obtained, you will be charged $270.
  • If you and the other parent agree to and sign the order, then it is not necessary to go to court, and you will be charged $450.
  • If Child Support Services’ attorneys must go to court, you will be charged $525.


In most cases, the parent who applied for Child Support Services is charged the legal fees to get a child support order. Child Support Services will ask the judge to order the non-custodial parent to pay the legal costs associated with getting the child support order. This may or may not happen. Fees are Paid When Child Support is Paid Child Support Services keeps 20 percent of each child support payment until the legal costs are paid. If you are the non-custodial parent who is ordered to pay legal fees, Child Support Services will work with you to make some type of payment arrangements.

Making Sure Child Support Is Paid (Enforcement) Once a child support order is in existence, Child Support Services can help ensure it is followed. The Federal and State government provides Idaho Child Support Services with several ways to make sure child support is being paid. Using an automated computer system, Child Support Services tracks how much child support is owed and paid for each case. When a parent is behind or in the arrears with child support payments, Child Support Services determines which of the following actions to use:

  • Income Withholding
  • Garnishing Accounts
  • Credit Reporting
  • Intercepting Lottery Winnings
  • Intercepting Federal Tax Refunds
  • Intercepting State Tax Refunds
  • Withholding Federal Benefits and Retirement Accounts
  • Suspending Licenses
  • Filing Liens
  • Intercepting PERSI Retirement Benefits
  • Passport Denials
  • Order to Show Cause
  • Judgments


Income Withholding


Income withholding is the most popular and successful way to ensure that child support is paid. Employers withhold child support from a parent’s income and send it to Idaho Child Support Services each payday.

Income withholding automatically begins when a parent, who is employed or receiving unemployment benefits, is at least one month behind in child support payments.


Garnishing Accounts


A parent’s accounts, assets, and investments may be garnished and used to pay past due child support. Garnishments must be issued by a court. In Idaho, accounts, assets, and investments may be garnished when . . .

  1. The parent is at least three months (not counting the current month) or $2000 behind in child support, and
  2. Child Support Services is aware of a parent’s accounts, assets, or investments.


Child Support Services regularly receives information from many financial institutions. However, if you have information about the other parent’s accounts, assets, or investments; notify Child Support Services as soon as possible.


Credit Reporting


Child support debts are automatically reported to credit agencies when a parent owes at least $500.00 or the equivalent of three months child support payments.

Reporting child support debts damages a parent’s credit rating and affects his or her ability to secure financing. This makes buying or refinancing a home, buying a car, or getting credit cards more difficult.

Intercepting Lottery Winnings


Lottery winnings can be intercepted and used to pay child support debts. If a parent wins $1000.00 or more from the lottery, the money is used to pay past due child support. The parent must owe past due child support for the lottery winnings to be intercepted. Child Support Services can intercept lottery winnings from a parent until the youngest child turns 23 years old.


Intercepting Federal Tax Refunds


When a parent who is entitled to a Federal tax refund owes more than $500.00 in past due child support, the Federal tax refund money is sent to Child Support Services. Federal tax refunds can be intercepted until a child turns 18 years old.

If a custodial parent receives public assistance, then Federal tax refunds are intercepted when the non-custodial parent owes more than $150.00 in past due child support. These funds can be intercepted even after the child turns 18 years old.


Intercepting State Tax Refunds


When a parent who is entitled to a State tax refund owes past due child support, the State tax refund money is sent to Idaho Child Support Services. This money can be used to pay current and past due child support.


Withholding Federal Benefits and Federal Retirement Accounts


Federal benefits and Federal retirement accounts can be used to pay child support debts. This is referred to as the Federal Administrative Offset program. The parent must owe past due child support before Federal retirement accounts and other Federal benefits are withheld.


Suspending Licenses


Child Support Services begins the process to suspend a parent’s drivers, occupational, or Fish and Game license when he or she owes more than $2000.00 or the equivalent of three months child support.

A license is reinstated or the process to suspend a license is stopped when the parent signs a repayment agreement with Child Support Services. The parent must comply with the terms of the repayment agreement or Idaho Child Support Services will once again begin the process to suspend his or her license(s).


Filing Liens


When Child Support Services files a lien against a parent, he or she is unable to sell any property (real estate) in Idaho until the lien is removed. Liens are removed only when child support debts are completely paid or when the child support case is closed.

Liens are filed when a parent . . .

  1. Owes $2000.00 or the equivalent of three months child support, and
  2. Owns real estate in Idaho.

All liens are filed with the Idaho Secretary of State. When a lien is filed, the non-custodial parent is notified about the lien.


Intercepting PERSI Retirement Benefits


When a parent owing child support receives PERSI retirement benefits or withdraws retirement funds, Child Support Services can intercept the payment to pay past due child support. The parent must owe past due support before PERSI retirement benefits are intercepted.


Passport Denial


Passport applications are denied when a parent owes more than $2500.00 in child support. The entire amount must be paid before a passport is issued. If a parent already has a passport, the passport cannot be renewed until the past child support is paid.


Order to Show Cause (OSC)


When all other options fail, Child Support Services may seek an Order to Show Cause (OSC). Child Support Services can request that contempt charges be filed against a parent who has not paid child support. If the contempt case goes to court, a judge determines the outcome. A judge’s decision could include:

  • An order requiring the parent to participate in a job placement program.
  • An order requiring the parent to pay the delinquent support in full.
  • An order requiring a payment schedule for the delinquent amount in addition to regular support payments.
  • An order placing the parent in jail.

The custodial parent may be charged fees to pursue an Order to Show Cause.


Judgments


A judge can sign an order totaling past due child support, day care costs, or medical support. The amount is referred to as a “judgment.” Once a judgment is recorded with the Clerk of the Court, Child Support Services can take several actions to make sure the judgment is paid.


Making Sure Children Receive Medical Support


Medical insurance coverage is crucial so children receive the medical care they need to prevent health problems, care for illnesses, and treat injuries.

Providing medical insurance is an important part of supporting children. Idaho Child Support Services can help make sure parents who do not live with their children help meet their medical needs.


Child Support Orders Can Order Medical Support


Child Support orders can require the non-custodial parent to provide medical insurance coverage for his or her children, if it is available through an employer.

When Child Support Services help parents get a child support order, this requirement is included. If you already have a child support order, but it does not require a parent to provide medical insurance coverage, you can ask Child Support Services to help you through the process to change the child support order and have this requirement added.


Child Support Services Partners with Employers to Provide Medical Coverage for Children


When a parent is ordered to provide medical insurance coverage, and it is available through his or her employer, Child Support Services partners with the employer to enroll the children in the insurance policy.

Premiums are deducted from the non-custodial parent’s income.

If vision and dental benefits are available, the employer will enroll the children in that policy, as well.


About the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)


If group medical insurance coverage is not available to you or the other parent through an employer, and you are unable to afford private medical insurance coverage, you may be able to enroll your children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also called CHIP.

If your children are enrolled in CHIP, Idaho Child Support Services will help to make sure the non-custodial parent provides financial support and, when available through an employer, medical insurance coverage.


Changing a Child Support Order


Each child support order is carefully determined with a child’s best interest in mind. However, as time passes, circumstances change, and it may become necessary to change your child support order.

In Idaho, all child support orders must be signed by a judge. You can ask Child Support Services to guide you through the process of changing a child support order, you can choose to hire a private attorney, or you can do it yourself.


Reasons Why a Child Support Order Should Change


Child Support Services can help you through the process of changing a child support order to:

  1. Require a parent to provide medical insurance coverage when the coverage is available through an employer;
  2. Increase or decrease the monthly child support amount by more than 15 percent, but by at least $50; and
  3. Indicate how much a parent must pay for each child, if the previous order listed only a total child support obligation. This is especially important when one or more of the children no longer live with the custodial parent, or if a child turns 19-years-old or graduates from high school.

If you would like other issues addressed in the child support order, you may choose to hire a private attorney or do it yourself.


How to Request a Review of Your Child Support Order


In Idaho, all changes to child support orders must be signed by a judge. To avoid unnecessary legal fees, Idaho Child Support Services reviews child support orders and parents’ current circumstances before beginning the legal process.

To request Child Support Services review your child support order, explain in writing why you believe the order should change. Mail the request to:


Idaho Child Support
P.O. Box 70008
Boise, ID 83707-0108


Unless major changes have occurred, Child Support Services will not review child support orders until it has been three years since the order was signed, changed, or last reviewed.


A parent or guardian may request a review.


When You or the Other Parent Request a Review


When a review is requested, Idaho Child Support Services sends a letter to you and the other parent requesting information about your current circumstances, such as your income, how many children you support, etc. You have 30 days to provide the information to Child Support Services for the review.

When the review is complete, Child Support Services sends both parents a letter explaining the decision about whether to change the child support order.

If the review indicates the child support order should change, Child Support Services sends the case to an attorney who takes the legal actions necessary to change the court order.

If the review indicates the child support order should not change, you are not charged any fees. You still can choose to hire a private attorney to help you through the legal process of changing an order, or you can do it on your own.


The Legal Process


Child Support Services’ attorneys gather information and suggest changes to the child support order based on the parents’ current situation.


If Both Parents Agree to the Suggested Changes


If both parents agree to the suggested changes, you can both sign a stipulation (agreement). In that case, you will not need to go to court. A judge reviews the changes and signs the order.


If Parents Do Not Agree to the Suggested Changes


If both parents do not agree to the suggested changes, a court date is set, and a judge decides if changes should be made to the order. This process may take up to a few months.

If you requested the modification, a Child Support Services’ attorney will let you know if your presence is required at the court hearing. You are always welcome to come, if you wish.

If you did not request the modification and do not agree with the suggested changes, you may contest the changes at the court hearing. You can hire a private attorney to help you. If you do not come to the hearing, the judge will sign the suggested changes.


How a Idaho Child Support Amount is Determined


Child support amounts are set using Idaho Child Support Guidelines. The income of both parents, the number of children each parent supports, the cost of medical insurance premiums, and the child tax credit are all considered in determining a child support amount.


Legal Costs of Changing a Child Support Order


Because changing (modifying) a child support order involves attorneys and courts, Child Support Services must charge for legal services. The legal costs for modifying an order is $525, which is significantly less than the cost of hiring a private attorney.

If the existing order is a divorce decree, or if the state of Idaho is not a party to the existing order, additional fees up to $180 may be charged.

If the parent who pays support requests the review, payments can be made each month until the fee is paid.

If the parent who receives support requests the review, Idaho Child Support Services keeps twenty percent of each support payment until the fee is paid.

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