How It Works: Your Guide To Child Support

If you are a couple with children who are separating or divorcing, you will need to come to an agreement regarding how each parent will continue to support your children financially. Child support is meant to provide minor children with necessary food, clothing, healthcare, education and shelter. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement on child support, you will an Idaho Falls family law attorney represent you at court and request that a judge decide for you. Once the issue is resolved, it is converted into an official child support order and becomes enforceable. If the responsible parent fails to make child support payments, the other parent can return to court and request help in order to enforce the order and collect payment.

The following information provides basic child support information and explains how the State of Idaho enforces child support orders.

Child Support Services

Regardless of custody arrangements, both parents share legal responsibility for providing for a child’s support in Idaho. Each parent’s rights and responsibilities in support determination are outlined in the Idaho Child Support Guidelines, and are enforced by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Child Support Services (CSS). In order to establish child support in Idaho, you will need to ensure:

  • Your decree of divorce and parenting plan includes child support provisions
  • You’ve contacted an Idaho Falls family law attorney to initiate a child support order
  • You’ve applied for services at CSS

Calculating Child Support

Little boy sitting in a green wagon looking over his shoulder.Determining child support in Idaho involves basic calculations that consider specific factors, including:

  • Number of children
  • Combined parental income
  • Each parent’s percentage of combined income
  • The Support Guidelines Schedule
  • Split or shared physical custody
  • Work-related childcare costs
  • Health insurance and health care costs
  • Educational expenses
  • Deviations agreed upon by both parents

Child Support Payments

Once child support calculations have been performed, child support amounts have been determined, and an official child support order has been established, child support payments are processed through CSS. Payees can choose to have child support payments electronically loaded onto their Idaho Family Support Card or paid through direct deposit. Payers can make payments through payroll deduction or opt to make payments online.

Child Support Enforcement

The CSS is a specialized division within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare that provides child support services, including enforcement. The CSS enforces both state and federal child support laws, using a non-judicial administrative process to determine paternity of children, establish child support obligations, track and enforce child support payments, and modify child support obligations.

Little girl by the window looking at you with a smileIf you have a valid child support order in place, CSS can open a case on your child’s behalf, to enforce an existing child support order or for assistance collecting back payments owed to your children, prevent the payments from going into arrears, or modify orders in the case of changes of circumstances. CSS and the courts have a variety of legal methods at their disposal that are designed to enforce that parents pay child support when it’s due. One of the most commonly employed enforcement tool utilized if payments fall behind is the withholding order. In Idaho, all child support orders are subject to automatic income withholding, meaning that if a parent fails to pay one month, the payment is automatically deducted from their paycheck, and their employer is notified in order to have their payroll adjusted. After falling behind, the paying parent will need to seek legal assistance for advice about paying off arrearages or reducing payments to avoid CSS taking further enforcement measures.

For more information about child support services, child support payment enforcement, or answers about child support calculations or modifications, contact your Idaho Falls Family Law experts.