What YOU Need To Know About
Vermont Child Support

Vermont state seal

The mission of Vermont Child Support services is to improve the economic well-being of children. This is done by establishing, enforcing, and modifying child support orders for children who do not live with both parents.

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

Child Support exists to raise the standard of living for children. By enforcing the right to receive financial support from both of their parents you improve their chances to make it in today's world. The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home.


Applying for Services


Services are available to custodial and non-custodial parents(and guardians) of children who are under 18 or still in high school. In most cases, custodial parents who are getting public assistance or Medicaid are automatically referred to them for services. They do not have to apply. Everyone else must apply before they can provide services. To apply for services, you must complete the Application for Child Support Services, available from OCS or Family Court. If you are seeking support from more than one non-custodial parent, you must file a separate application for each. You may also be asked to provide copies of documents such as:


  • A copy of your child’s birth certificate
  • A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form, if applicable.
  • A court-certified copy of your original support order and any subsequent orders, if applicable.



If you want Vermont Child support to collect past-due child support owed by the non-custodial parent, you must complete an Arrears Affidavit detailing the amount of support you have received and are owed. You must sign the affidavit in front of a notary public. Please note that when you apply, you cannot pick and choose the services you want to receive. Once we are involved, they will provide all available services as they are needed. They will process your Application for Child Support Services within a few days of receiving it.


At that time, they will assign you a caseworker and notify the other parent of their involvement in the case. Your caseworker will, at minimum, conduct periodic reviews, contact other agencies for updates, and notify you of any major developments. Because their workers typically oversee more than 650 active cases at any given time, your caseworker may not be able to devote as much individual attention to your case as you or they would like. If you feel that they are not being as effective as you would like, you always have the option of hiring your own attorney and private investigator.


Establishing Paternity


One of the primary functions of the Vermont Child Support office is to establish parentage when a child is born to unmarried parents. Usually this means identifying the father, but it can sometimes mean establishing the child’s legal mother. When a child is born to a married couple, Vermont law automatically recognizes both parents as the legal parents. If the parents are not married when the child is born, the law Assumes the mother is the biological or legal parent. For emotional and financial reasons, it is important to establish parentage as soon as possible after birth.

A parent who pays support when a child is very young is more likely to continue paying support until the child is an adult. Even so, Vermont law allows parentage to be established until the child is 21. It is important to establish parentage even if the alleged father is still in school, has no income, or has no health insurance. The court may order the father to pay a very small amount of support until he finishes school or gets a job. At that time, either parent can ask the Family Court to modify the support order to reflect the change. The following bellow are other reasons you should establish paternity:


Genetic Testing


If genetic testing is ordered, you will be scheduled to see a specimen collector in the area where you live. The custodial parent and child are not scheduled to be tested at the same time as the alleged father—unless requested by both parties. When you arrive at the testing site, you will:


  • Be asked to show a photo ID or other form of identification.
  • Have your picture taken.
  • Have a sample of your genetic material taken.

Cell samples are taken from all involved parties, including the mother, alleged father, and child, by rubbing a soft cotton swab on the inside of the mouth/inner cheek. The genetic samples are sent to a laboratory where they are compared. Testing is based on DNA and is extremely accurate. By comparing the three genetic samples, the test can establish with 99.9% certainty whether the alleged father is the biological parent.


Finances:


Children need and have the legal right to receive child support; parentage must be legally established in order to receive it.


Health:


Children need and have the right to know their family’s medical history. In addition, it might be possible to obtain health insurance for a child through the father’s employer, union, or military service.


Survivor Benefits:


If the father dies before parentage is legally established, children may not qualify for certain benefits that would otherwise legally pass on to them.


  • Social Security
  • Pension
  • Inheritance rights
  • veterans’ benefits
  • Life insurance


Identity:


Children have the right to know who their parents are.


Non-Custodial Parents


Important facts


Make Vermont Child Support payments by check if you are not paying through wage withholding or wage withholding has not yet started. Include your Social Security number or Vermont Child Support case number on the check and keep each canceled check for your records. Never pay the custodial parent directly, unless the court has specifically approved that arrangement. If the custodial parent has applied for their services, all payments must go through them even if the court order requires direct payment to the other party. If you pay directly, they will have no record of your payment and must assume that you did not pay.

This might lead to enforcement actions such as taking you back to court to collect the payments, tax offset, and liens. Check any account statements you receive from them for accuracy. If you pay support through wage withholding, they will send you an annual statement. If you pay support directly to them, they will send you monthly billing statements. If you believe there is an error, submit a written explanation to your regional Vermont Child support office.

Otherwise, if your account shows a past-due amount (arrears), they may initiate a collection action. If you obtain a legal change in custody, immediately request a modification or change of your Vermont Child Support order from Family Court. Until a new child support order is received from the court, they must comply with the existing order and payment amounts.


Custodial Parents and Guardians


If you receive a support payment directly from the non-custodial parent, immediately inform the Vermont Child Support Agency and the Economic Services Division if you receive public assistance or Medicaid in writing. Otherwise, they will think that the payment is overdue and may start enforcement actions. They have the right to close your case if you do not inform them of payments you receive directly, and they may have to reconsider the services being provided if payments continue to be made directly to you. If they pay you an amount of support to which you are not entitled, you are responsible for repaying the amount. They have the right to adjust future payments in order to recover an overpayment. If they are working to locate the non-custodial parent, you must do your part to gather and provide leads on his or her whereabouts.


wage withholding


Vermont Child Support law requires all child support orders issued after June 1990 to include wage withholding through the OCS Registry unless Both parents ask to handle support payments on their own and the court waives the wage withholding requirement. Another way is the non-custodial parent is self-employed. In these cases, the court typically instructs the non-custodial parent to pay support directly to the OCS Registry. If the non-custodial parent later becomes an employee, wage withholding is required. Wage withholding is a convenient way to pay child support.

Payments are taken right from the non-custodial parent’s wages (or unemployment compensation) and sent to the OCS Registry for processing and disbursement. It creates an accurate record of support payments made and received, helping to eliminate disputes.


Vermont Child Support Customer service


Central Office


Office of Child Support
103 South Main St.
Waterbury, VT 05671-1901
1-800-786-3214 Fax: (802) 244-1483


Regional Offices


Central Region
162 North Main St., Suite 205
Barre, VT 05641
(802) 479-4204 Fax: (802) 479-4225


Northeast Region
1153 Main Street, Suite 2
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
(802) 751-2650 Fax: (802) 751-2649


Northwest Region
32 Cherry St., Suite 310
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 863-7444 Fax: (802) 651-1608


Southeast Region
100 Mineral St., Suite 202
Springfield, VT 05156
(802) 885-6212 Fax: (802) 885-6213


Southwest Region
420 Asa Bloomer State Office Building
Rutland, VT 05701(802) 786-5060 Fax: (802) 786-5079




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