The program is a federal, state and local intergovernmental collaboration functioning in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The Office of Child Support Enforcement in the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assists states develop, manage and operate child support programs effectively and according to federal laws by providing financial and technical assistance.
The Child Support Enforcement program is a family-first program intended to ensure families’ self-sufficiency by making child support a more reliable source of income. The program goals are to ensure children have the financial and medical support of both their parents; to foster responsible behavior towards children; to emphasize children need to have both parents involved in their lives; and, to reduce welfare costs.
The purpose and mission of the Nevada Child Support Enforcement Program is to enhance the well-being of children by assuring that assistance in obtaining support, including financial and medical, is available to children through locating parents, establishing paternity, establishing support obligations, and monitoring and enforcing those obligations.
FINDING THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT
In most cases, to establish the paternity of a child, or obtain an order for support, and to enforce that order, the Nevada Child Support Enforcement agency must know where the other parent lives or works. When one person makes a legal claim against another, the defendant must be given notice of the legal action taken and the steps necessary to protect his or her rights.
To notify the non-custodial parent in advance under the state’s laws and requirements – for example, by certified mail or personal service, Nevada Child Support Enforcement officials need a correct address. If you do not have the address, the Nevada Child Support office can try to find it. The most important information that you can provide is the non-custodial parent's Social Security number and any employer that you know about.
A father can acknowledge paternity by signing a written admission or voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. All states have programs under which birthing hospitals give unmarried parents of a newborn the opportunity to acknowledge the father's paternity of the child. States must also help parents acknowledge paternity up until the child's eighteenth birthday. Paternity can also be established at a court or administrative hearing or by default if the man was served notice of a paternity hearing but did not appear.
Parents are not required to apply for child support enforcement services when acknowledging paternity. An acknowledgment of paternity becomes a finding of paternity unless the man who signed the acknowledgment denies that he is the father within 60 days. Generally, this finding may be challenged only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
If it becomes necessary to seek child support, a finding of paternity creates the basis for the obligation to provide support. A support order cannot be established for a child who is born to unmarried parents until paternity has been established. It is important to establish paternity as early as possible.
While Nevada Child Support Enforcement offices must try to establish paternity for any child up to the child's 18th birthday, it is best to do it as soon after the child's birth as possible. If a man is not certain that he is the father, the Nevada Child Support Enforcement agency can arrange for genetic testing. These tests are simple to take and highly accurate.
Even if the parents plan to marry after their baby is born, establishing paternity helps to protect the relationship between the child and the father from the very start. Establishing paternity helps make sure that the child gets the benefits that she or he deserves. It can be important for the health of the child for doctors to have knowledge of the father's medical history.
Some of these benefits are:
My baby's father lives out of state. Can I still have paternity established?
Yes, if the baby was conceived in Nevada, if the father used to live there, or there is another basis for exercising personal jurisdiction, your state can claim "long arm" jurisdiction over him, and require that he appear for paternity establishment. If your state cannot claim jurisdiction, the CSE agency can petition the state where he lives to establish paternity. Your caseworker will be able to tell you what needs to be done in your case.
The father of my child is in jail. Can I get support?
Past-due support may accumulate while the father is in jail. But unless he has assets, such as property, bank accounts, or any income such as wages from a work-release program, it is unlikely that support can be collected while he is in jail. You might write to the warden of the prison and ask if any provision is made for a prisoner to provide support for his children.
Depending on state law, your support order may be modified so that payment is deferred or forgiven until he is released and working. (Some states will do this so that the arrearage when he is released is not so great that he might hide, but will seek work and resume payments. If he is in a Federal Correctional Facility, in addition to seizing available outside assets and income, if any, there also is a possibility that you can get child support payments from the inmate’s prison account.
According to the Bureau of Prisons instruction, the withdrawal of funds from an inmate’s account is strictly voluntary. Child support obligations are listed as the fourth priority of funds that can be withdrawn. You, or your caseworker, will need to find out who the inmate’s case manager is and write a letter to that person. Any correspondence to the case manager needs to specifically indicate that child support obligations are to be considered pursuant to the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program.
If funds are not received, it may be due to the fact that the inmate has refused to make payment, or that the inmate is making payments that have priority over the child support payments. Contact with the case manager can verify whether or not the inmate is cooperating and willing to meet the child support obligations.
A main objective of the Nevada Child Support Program is to make sure that child support payments are made regularly and in the correct amount. While noncustodial parents who are involved in their children's lives are usually willing to pay child support, lapses of payment do occur. When they do, a family's budget can be quickly and seriously threatened. Some noncustodial parents do not pay regularly, and some spend a lot of effort and energy evading their responsibility for their children. The frustration the custodial parent feels when payments are not regular can easily disrupt the family's life.
For this reason, Congress decided that immediate income withholding should be included in all child support orders. (States must also apply withholding to sources of income other than wages, such as commissions and bonuses; and to worker’s compensation, disability, pension, or retirement benefits.) For child support orders issued or modified through state CSE Programs, immediate income withholding began on November 1, 1990. Immediate income withholding began January 1, 1994 for all initial orders that are not established through the CSE Program. The law allows for an exception to immediate income withholding if the tribunal finds good cause, or if both parents agree to an alternative arrangement. In these cases, if an arrearage equal to one month's payment occurs, that will automatically trigger withholding.
If the noncustodial parent has a regular job, income withholding for Nevada Child Support can be treated like other forms of payroll deduction, such as income tax, social security, union dues, or any other required payment.
If payments are skipped or stop entirely, especially if the noncustodial parent is self-employed, moves or changes jobs frequently, or works for cash or commissions, the Nevada Child Support office will try to enforce the support order through other means. Subject to due process safeguards, states have laws which allow them to use enforcement techniques such as: state and Federal income tax offset, liens on real or personal property owned by the debtor, freezing of bank accounts, orders to withhold and deliver property to satisfy the debt, passport denial, or seizure and sale of property with the proceeds from the sale applied to the support debt These methods can be used by the Nevada Child Support Enforcement office without directly involving the courts.
All states have agreements with financial institutions doing business in their state for the purpose of conducting a quarterly data match known as the Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM). The purpose of FIDM is to identify accounts belonging to non-custodial parents who are delinquent in their child support obligations. Once identified, these accounts may be subject to liens and levies issued by state or local child support enforcement agencies. An institution doing business in two or more states (multi-state financial institution) has the option to conduct the quarterly data match with OCSE or with the states where the institution does business. States are responsible for issuing levies to the financial institutions to collect the past-due child support.
Under the Passport Denial Program, states certify cases in which an obligor owes more than $2,500 in unpaid child support. The Office of Nevada Child Support Enforcement transmits the information to the Department of State so that a U.S. passport will not be issued, or renewed, to someone who is not supporting his or her children. Passports can be seized if the holder requests a change, such as a new address or an additional dependent. In some cases, the CSE agency can help to obtain a Federal warrant. The Department of State can then start procedures to revoke the passport or arrest the obligor at the border when he or she returns to the United States.
If actions available through the CSE program are not successful, state CSE agencies can take cases to court for other enforcement actions such as show cause hearings, contempt of court proceedings, and criminal prosecutions.
The noncustodial parent refuses to pay child support, but owns a good deal of property in the county. Can a lien be issued on the property?
Yes, however, a lien on property does not by itself result in the immediate collection of any money. It only prevents the owner from selling, transferring, or borrowing against the property until the child support debt is paid. Even so, the presence of a property lien may encourage the noncustodial parent to pay the past-due child support in order to a get clear title to the property. States are now required to give full faith and credit to liens issued by another state.
Nevada Child Support Customer Service
State of Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services
1470 College Parkway
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