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Child Support Laws and Facts

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The Montana Child Support mission statement is to diligently pursue and ultimately achieve financial and medical support of children. This is done by establishing, enforcing, and increasing public awareness of parental obligations.

slogan: Kids Have Needs TOO... Is Your Child Support DUE?

Child Support Enforcement Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services can and will help you with your support issue. They have highly knowledgeable staff that will put your child support case together and get the children the support they deserve. Montana Child Support exists to raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from both of their parents. The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home.

Individuals who receive public assistance under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program are automatically referred to Montana Child Support Enforcement Services. Support owed to the family is automatically assigned to the state as a condition of TANF. When the child support is collected, it is used to reimburse the state and federal governments for welfare benefits paid to the family.

Individuals who do not receive public assistance may apply for division services. In non-Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program cases, child support collections are forwarded to the custodial party. Other states refer cases to Montana for action when a non-custodial parent lives in Montana. Montana Child Support Enforcement Services also collects parental contributions to the state for foster care placements.



Establishing Paternity


Paternity means fatherhood. Fatherhood is the legal responsibility to support a child. Paternity establishment refers to the legal determination of being named as a child's father. By establishing paternity, the father is providing the child with certain rights and privileges. These privileges are important because the child has the right to know who their biological father is. Both parents have the right to know and to contribute to the success of their child’s future.


Even when a father and mother are unmarried, they both must support their child until the child becomes an adult. Both parents are required by law to support their child. Your local child support agency can help to establish paternity. If you and the mother of your child are not married, you should both seriously consider establishing paternity for your child immediately. Paternity is between a father and his child.


Some of the benefits of Establishing Paternity are:

IDENTITY: It is important to know who we are. Your child will benefit from a sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents.


FINANCIAL: The law requires that both parents support their child. Establishing paternity is the first step in making plans, which can be monitored by the courts, to provide the financial support that your child will need in a way that is fair to both parents.


MEDICAL: A child needs to know if he or she may have inherited any special health problems from either side of the family. Also, it might be possible to obtain medical insurance through a parent's employer, union, or military service.


Your child has the right to other possible benefits from both parents. Many of these benefits may be denied to your child if legal paternity is not established. Some of these benefits may include:


  • Social Security from a deceased or disabled parent
  • Inheritance Rights
  • Veteran's Benefits
  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance


By law, if you sign the paternity affidavit, your name will be listed as the father on the child's birth certificate. If you are not married to the mother of your child at the time your child is born, the state is required to register the child with the mother's last name. If paternity is established by an affidavit, and the mother agrees, you can make sure that your child has your last name.


Enforcement Methods used to collect child support


Federal and state law's allows the Montana Child Support Enforcement Agency to deduct from a non-custodial parent’s paycheck. These deductions are taken out every time a non-custodial parent gets their pay check from an employer. The following are enforcement methods used to collect child support payments.


  • Liens against real and personal property.
  • Seize bank accounts, savings, bonuses, lump sum earnings
  • Intercept state and federal Income tax refunds.
  • Take a portion of unemployment compensation or workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Intercept lottery winnings.
  • Deny, suspend or revoke a driver’s license, professional license or any license obtained
  • Revoke or Limit Passports.
  • Require the parent to post a bond with the court.
  • Order the parent’s employer to enroll the parent’s children in a health insurance plan.
  • Transfer health insurance coverage for the parent’s children to a new employer if the parent changes jobs.
  • File criminal actions against the parent.
  • File citations of contempt of court in district or circuit courts when payments are not made.


Terms you need to know


Full Child Support (IV-D) Services


Services provided by state and Montana Child Support agencies for the purpose of processing child support and spousal maintenance if child support is also being collected on the same case. Full services include:


  • Locating parents
  • Establishing paternity
  • Establishing court orders
  • Reviewing and modifying support orders.
  • Enforcing support orders
  • Working with other states to enforce support orders.
  • Collecting an processing payment for support orders.
  • Sometimes called “IV-D services.


Income Withholding


Income withholding is the deduction of the current basic support, Montana Child Support, medical support, or spousal support obligation and arrears from an obligor's wages or other sources of income.


Modification


A modification is a court-approved change in terms of an order for maintenance or support because of one of the following conditions:


  • Substantially increased or decreased earnings of a party
  • Substantially increased or decreased need of a party or the child receipt of public assistance
  • A change in the cost of living for either party
  • Extraordinary medical expenses of the child
  • Substantial increase or decrease in work-related or education-related child care expenses
  • Emancipation of the child


Obligor


The obligor is a person obligated to pay maintenance or support. A person who has primary physical custody of a child is presumed not to be an obligor for the purposes of child support. For purposes of ordering medical support, a parent who has primary physical custody of a child may be an obligor subject to a payment agreement.


Obligee


The obligee is a person to whom payments for maintenance or support are owed.


Montana Child Support Customer Service.


Central Office


3075 North Montana Avenue
PO Box 202943
Helena, MT 59620-2943
(406) 444-9855
Toll-free: (800) 346-5437
Fax: (406) 444-1370


Field Offices


Office of the Administrative Law Judge


PO Box 202922
Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-9370
Fax: (406) 444-6565


Region 2


This region encompasses Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier, Hill, Liberty, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Teton, and Toole counties.


201 First Street South, Suite 1A
Great Falls, MT 59405
(406) 727-7449


Fax: (406) 454-3106


Region 3


This region encompasses Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Wibaux, and Yellowstone counties.


1500 Poly Drive, Suite 200
Billings, MT 59102
(406) 655-5500
Fax: (406) 655-5545


Region 4


This Montana Child Support region encompasses Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Granite, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powell, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, and Wheatland counties.


17 West Galena
Butte, MT 59701
(406) 497-6600
Fax: (406) 782-9728


Region 5


This region encompasses Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders counties.


2675 Palmer Street , Suite C
Missoula, MT 59808
406) 329-7910
Fax: (406) 329-5468


REGION 8


This region encompasses incoming interstate cases for all counties in Montana.


3075 North Montana Avenue
PO Box 202943
Helena, MT 59620-2943
(406) 444-9767
Fax: (406) 444-9626


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