Types of Child Support Cases

What is the difference between IV-D and Non IV-D child support cases?

Little boy running to his Father
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Child support payments can seem confusing, especially when you're just getting started. This is because there are actually four different types of child support cases. They are called "IV-D," "IV-A," "IV-E," and "non-IV-D" child support cases. The designation "IV" refers to Title IV of the Social Security Act of 1975, which covers grants to states for the purpose of providing aid and services to needy families with children.

For example, you may have noticed that some non-custodial parents pay child support privately, directly to the custodial parent, and others pay child support through the state where the child support order was established, either by having the child support deducted from their paycheck or by paying the state; in both cases the state then issues the payment to the custodial parent.

It's important that you understand the type of case you have. 

Types of Child Support Cases

IV-D Cases

In IV-D situations, the custodial parent is receiving some sort of assistance from the state's Office of Child Support Enforcement. This may include locating the non-custodial parent, establishing paternity, or establishing and enforcing a child support order. So if you do not know where your child's non-custodial parent is, or if that parent is not complying with a child support order, this agency can help.

IV-A Cases

These are cases in which the custodial parent is receiving public assistance from the state (for example, food stamps). In order to defray the costs of supporting the family, the state will automatically refer IV-A cases to the Office of Child Support Enforcement in order to attempt to collect child support directly from the non-custodial parent.

IV-E Cases

If children being cared for by someone other than a parent, such as another relative or the foster care system, this is an IV-E case. These are also automatically referred to the Office of Child Support Enforcement in order to attempt to recoup costs from the non-custodial parent(s).

Non-IV-D Cases

These are cases where child support is established and maintained privately, such as following a divorce. If you have a legal agreement with your child's other parent and they are meeting their obligations, you probably have a non-IV-D case. But some non-IV-D cases become IV-D cases if the non-custodial parent does not pay the support they owe. The custodial parent can ask the Office of Child Support Enforcement to help to collect outstanding, unpaid child support (their case then becomes an IV-D case).

Child support is an important tool to help ensure that all children are provided for. While it may seem confusing to have so many different types of child support, these designations are necessary. They allow the government to keep track of which families and children require extra help.

How to Change a Child Support Case

Sometimes family situations change and the type of child support you have may need to change. It's not uncommon for family situations to change over the course of a child's life. Parents may get remarried or lose their employment, which could both be considered reasons to review a child support case.

Unfortunately, it's also not uncommon for non-custodial parents to simply stop paying. If you need help compelling your ex to pay their child support, it's important to get in contact with your Office of Child Support Enforcement case manager as soon as possible. The office has systems in place that can help your child get the financial support they need. Anytime you think you need to change your child support arrangement, contact your case manager or your lawyer.

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