Frequently Asked Questions
If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please contact your local county child support office. Your caseworker can answer specific questions about your case. Enter your county or city name in the Find a County Child Support Office search field to find this contact information.
Here is a helpful list of common child support terms: Glossary webpage
FAQ topic areas include:
- Calculating Child Support
- Enforcing Child Support Orders
- General Questions
- Interstate Cases
- Making Child Support Payments
- Receiving Child Support Services
- COVID-19 FAQs
- Website Login Troubleshooting
Calculating Child Support
- What is a guideline worksheet?
A guideline worksheet is a form used to calculate the amount of child support that is owed. Colorado has two guideline worksheets.
- Worksheet A, “Sole Physical Care” is used in cases when one parent has 92 or fewer overnights
- Worksheet B, “Shared Physical Care” is used in cases when both parents have more than 92 overnights with the child
- I pay for child care and buy all the child’s clothes. Does this count as child support?
The guidelines review the average expenses for children such as food, clothing, housing and utilities. Child care costs are also a factor. Additional money spent by the paying parent for the benefit of the child that is not court ordered is usually considered a gift.
- What expenses are considered and what documentation must I provide regarding expenses?
Many expenses are factored into determining the child support amount. Parents must provide proof of payment to have any expense considered. They are:
- Other child support orders
- Alimony/spousal support
- Credit given for other children living in your home
- Credit given for costs related to another child you are responsible for but that does not live in your home
- Post-secondary education expenses
- Child care expenses
- Medical insurance expenses
- Potential other medical costs
- Potential expenses from transportation of a child to see the other parent
- We share custody. Does that impact the amount I have to pay?
If each parent has the child in his/her home for more than 92 overnights a year, credit may be given in the guideline calculation.
- Are my other bills, such as rent and car payments, taken into consideration when calculating the amount of support?
Expenses of the parents, such as rent and car payments, are not considered.
- Does overtime count as part of my income?
Generally, overtime is not counted as part of your income for child support unless your employer requires it.
- Does this order allow me to have visitation with the child?
The local county child support office cannot establish visitation, also known as parenting time. You may request that a court hearing be set to ask the court to grant parenting time. You may hire a private attorney to assist you. Forms for filing requests for visitation and decision making are available from the Colorado Judicial Department website.
- What if one of the parties doesn't have any income?
If a paying parent or person receiving payments is not employed to his or her full capacity, income may be determined based upon their potential earning ability. There are some situations where this does not happen, such as:
- The parent is mentally or physically disabled
- One of the paying parent/person receiving payments children is under the age of 30 months and a parent cares for the child instead of working
- The parent is receiving training or education that will lead to a higher paying job in the future
- Will the Child Tax Credits I or the other party receive affect the amount of current support that is ordered?
No, Child Tax Credit advance payments or amounts received as a result of claiming the credit on a tax return do not count as income for child support guideline purposes. For questions related to Child Tax Credits or tax returns/offsets, please visit 2021 Child Tax Credit and advance payments or contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
- I recently started making payments, so why is my account still showing as past due?
If you started making regular monthly payments after your account became past due, the account will continue to show as past due until the past due amount is paid in full.
- Will my credit continue to be reported if I owe support but pay off my arrears balance?
Your account will continue to be reported but with a zero balance. If your account was past due before you paid your balance, it will be reported as current from the time payment was received.
- If my child support account is incorrect on the credit report, how do I fix it?
You have three options:
- File a consumer dispute directly with the company who issued your credit report
- Contact the county child support caseworker handling your child support case
- Contact the State Enforcement Unit of the CSS Program at (303) 866-4323
- Why did I get a driver’s license suspension notice?
You either submitted a partial child support payment or have not made a payment on your order.
- What can I do if my employer is deducting child support payments from my paycheck and I still received a driver’s license suspension notice?
First, check to see if the Family Support Registry (FSR) records correspond with your payment records. You can get a copy of the payment record mailed to you anytime by contacting the FSR Customer Service Department or your county child support caseworker. Use the Find a County Child Support Office search field to locate the address and phone number of your local county child support office.
If there is an error, contact your payroll department to ask if the payment was sent to the FSR after it was deducted from your paycheck. Have them check to see if the correct FSR account number was submitted with the payment. Finally, contact your county child support caseworker to discuss the payment situation and the driver’s license suspension notice.
- How do I get a Notice of Compliance sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)?
Contact your local county child support caseworker to make payment a payment agreement and pay as agreed. When the Notice of Compliance is issued, a paper copy will be mailed to you. The DMV receives an electronic notification at the same time. You do NOT need the paper copy of the notice to reinstate your driver’s license.
- How do I reinstate my driver’s license if it has been suspended?
Once there is an agreement, the payment is made and a Notice of Compliance has been issued, wait 48 hours and contact the DMV at (303) 205-5613, or online at mydmv.colorado.gov, to find out what the DMV needs to reinstate your license.
- How do I get a “red license” (probationary license)?
Contact the DMV at (303) 205-5613, or online at mydmv.colorado.gov, to learn more.
- Why was a lien placed on my bank account?
A lien is placed on a bank account when or you have not made the monthly payment due on your order.
- How long will the “freeze” be in effect on my account?
The “freeze” will last for 30 calendar days from the date of the lien.
- What if the balance listed on the lien is not correct?
Contact your county child support caseworker.
- What if the balance listed on the lien is more than the balance of my account?
The amount deducted from your bank account will be up to the amount listed on the lien but will not exceed the balance of your account.
- Can I be reimbursed for the fees the bank charges me?
No. The state will not refund fees charged by the bank.
- What is the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program?
The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program collects past due child support payments from the tax refunds of parents who have been ordered to pay child support. The program is a cooperative effort among the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and state CSS agencies.
- Will the CSS Program intercept my federal tax refund if I am paying on my case?
Yes, federal law requires that a tax refund be intercepted anytime a case arrears due.
- How do I get the offset stopped?
The only way to stop the offset is to pay off your arrears balance in full. Contact your county child support caseworker to learn more about this.
- My spouse made some of the money that was intercepted for my child support debt. Why is his or her share being taken?
Your spouse may be entitled to get back the portion of the refund that can be shown as belonging to him or her. If it is part of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund, the impacted party must file IRS Form 8379, Injured Spouse Claim. Call (800) 829-3676 to get this form or download IRS Form 8379 from the IRS website.
- What is the most common way to collect child support?
CSS has the authority to collect child support from an income assignment. An income assignment is issued to the employer of the parent required to pay child support to deduct the required amount from wages or other income.
- Why were my winnings offset when I am currently paying my child support as agreed?
If you have an arrears balance greater than zero, winnings will be offset and applied to the arrears due.
- I have a hold on my passport due to a child support balance, what do I do now?
You must pay the balance in full, including current support, to release the hold on your passport.
- I know the other party has unclaimed funds from the Great Colorado Payback, why is CSS not intercepting them?
CSS can only offset unclaimed property funds for unpaid child support once a successful claim has been filed for the unclaimed property.
- What types of licenses can be suspended by Child Support Services for not paying?
In addition to driver’s licenses, CSS may request the suspension of professional and occupational licenses and recreational licenses. Each type of license has its own reinstatement requirements. Call your local child support office for more information.
- How are unemployment benefits used to pay child support?
A child support case must be opened through a local county child support office for payments to come from state unemployment benefits.
- Why are you taking my Workers’ Compensation benefits when I am paying?
The copy of the child support administrative lien and attachment is sent to you and the workers’ compensation adjusters. It requires up to 50% withholding to pay off child support arrears. The administrative attachment is designed to collect arrears whether or not you are currently paying.
- I received the notice of administrative lien and attachment, but I am receiving no benefits. Why is that?
CSS and the Division of Workers’ Compensation exchange data when a First Report of Injury is sent to Workers’ Compensation. Many times this is a “non-lost time” claim. If that is the case, the adjusters will advise CSS of the claim status.
- Will Child Tax Credits be intercepted to pay child support arrears?
Child Tax Credits received as advance payments are not subject to offset for child support. However, amounts received as a tax refund as a result of claiming the credits on a tax return are subject to offset. For questions related to Child Tax Credits or tax returns/offsets, please visit 2021 Child Tax Credit and advance payments or contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
- What if I do not make enough money to cover the full amount due each month from my paycheck?
Your employer is only allowed to take up to 60% of your income for child support. If you feel too much is being taken out, contact your local county child support office to discuss what options are available.
- What if I have more than one family to support?
Your employer sets up the child support order to first pay for current monthly support and then the past due child support. An employer can take up to 60% of your paycheck.
- My address changed. How do I update this?
Notify your county child support caseworker. The county office will make sure the address is correct in their system and with the Family Support Registry.
- Where can I get information regarding a change to custody or visitation?
CSS does not handle custody and visitation. Visit the Colorado Judicial Department website for more information.
- I’ve misplaced copies of court orders, where can I obtain new copies?
You may contact the court directly to request copies of any orders entered in your case..
- What is Colorado’s age of emancipation?
If your child support order was issued in Colorado, emancipation occurs and child support ends when the child reaches 19 years of age in most cases. However, if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program, support continues until the end of the month after graduation but not beyond the age of 21. Child support can also continue past the age of 19 if both the paying 8 parent and person receiving payments agree in writing or the child is mentally or physically disabled and continued support is ordered.
- I was told my case would be sent to Colorado for processing, who should I contact for updates and questions about it going forward?
Please address all questions and concerns about your case with the office where you first applied for services.
- How long does it take to begin receiving money if a case is sent to another state?
It takes an average of 90 days to open a case in another state. Many factors influence the amount of time it takes to begin receiving money, including if there is already a child support order and how quickly the other state can serve the party ordered to pay support with paperwork. Your local county child support office can answer more specific questions regarding this process.
- What is needed to speed up the interstate process to get child support from unemployment benefits quickly?
The following should be sent to the CSS interstate group by the state that began the case:
- Certified copy of the order (unless it is a Colorado order)
- Registration statement from the office trying to collect
- State paying parent (obligor) who is collecting UCB on transmittal (very important)
Making Child Support Payments
- If I owe child support, can I stop a scheduled recurring automatic withdrawal payment?
The FSR can stop a scheduled recurring automatic withdrawal payment with advance notice. Your request must be received at the FSR a minimum of three business days prior to the scheduled withdrawal date. A stop of your authorization may be completed at this link or by contacting the FSR Customer Service Department at 1-800-374-6558 or emailing CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us.
- If I use recurring automatic withdrawal or pay-by-phone to pay my child support order, how do I change my bank information with the FSR?
Modifications to your bank information require a new authorization form to be completed at this link or by contacting the FSR Customer Service Department at 1-800-374-6558 or by emailing CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us.
- Will establishing parentage grant custody and visitation rights?
The CSS Program does not oversee custody and parenting time issues. After parentage is determined, a parent has the right to request the court for parenting time/visitation and/or custody.
- My child’s father wants to acknowledge paternity, is there an easy way for him to do this?
Unwed parents can voluntarily acknowledge a child until the child reaches 18 years of age.The Acknowledgment of Parentage form is available at the hospital after the birth of your child, at all local county child support offices and at local vital records offices. An Affidavit of Paternity may also be signed at your local child support office.
- What should we do if we are not sure who the child’s father is?
Either parent can request genetic testing. If either parent is unsure, a paternity test should be completed to accurately determine the biological father of the child.
- Who pays for genetic testing, and how long does it take to get the results?
Either parent may pay for a private DNA test. If a parent applies for a child support order, the fee for genetic testing is covered up front by CSS. If parentage is determined, the county will seek reimbursement from the confirmed parent. Genetic testing results may vary depending on the complexity of the test or if multiple partners must be tested. It typically takes 7-10 business days for the test results to be submitted.
Receiving Child Support Payments
- How long does it take for the Family Support Registry (FSR) to process a payment and send it out?
Payments received with the FSR account number and payor's name are processed on the same business day they are received. Payment is typically sent on the following business day. If you have direct deposit, your deposit is typically available within two business days.
- If I have direct deposit to receive my child support, how do I change my bank information with the FSR?
Modifications to your bank information require a new authorization form to be completed at this link or by contacting the FSR Customer Service Department at 1-800-374-6558 or emailing CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us.
- How can I stop my direct deposit or the deposit onto my Child Support Payment card?
You can stop the authorization at this link or by contacting the FSR Customer Service Department at 1-800-374-6558 or emailing CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us.
If you stop your direct deposit without adding a new direct deposit you will automatically be issued the Child Support Payment card. Per Mandated Electronic Disbursement Policy you are required to have a direct deposit or Child Support Payment card on file.
- What can I do if I haven't received my payment and I believe it’s a processing error?
If your case is being enforced by a local county child support office, contact them for help. If your account is a "Non IV-D" or "Registry Only" account, contact the payor or employer. The following items are needed for the FSR to search for any potentially lost payments:
- Payment check number
- Payment check amount
- Date check cleared the bank
- Payor or employee name
- Payor or employee identifying information, such as social security number or the FSR account number
- What should I do if I lost my child support check/child support payment card?
A request to stop payment on an FSR check can be accepted if a child support check/payment card was lost or stolen. You are eligible to receive a request if seven days have passed since the payment was mailed. Stop payment requests are also accepted if the check was damaged and you need a replacement.
If you have lost your check or it was damaged and needs a replacement, contact FSR Customer Service at 1-800-374-6558 or email CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us.
If you lost your Child Support Payment Card you should contact customer service at 855-279-2523 or 719-619-3704 for international callers.
- I currently don’t have an SSN. Can I still set up Direct Deposit or Child Support Payment Card online?
A valid SSN is required to use the online application. If you don’t have an SSN you will have to submit a paper form by either contacting customer service toll-free at 800-374-6558 or 303-299-9123 or by email at CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us
- Where can I use my Child Support Payment Card?
The Child Support Payment Card is a prepaid debit card and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
- If I use the Child Support Payment Card are there any restrictions?
Child Support Payment Cards have no restrictions on how to spend the funds.
- I am a recipient (obligee) on multiple cases, can I have both Direct Deposit and Child Support Payment Card setup?
An obligee can only have one electronic disbursement on file for all their Family Support Registry accounts.
- Can I add my Child Support Payment Card to my mobile wallet?
You can add your card to your Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Mobile Wallet for fast, secure checkout. Simply look for the contactless symbol at checkout.
- Can I add funds to my Child Support Payment Card?
- Using Visa®ReadyLink-Cardholders can deposit cash to their Payment Card at participating merchants. Money is immediately available. Merchants include Kroger, Walmart, Walgreens, Dollar General, and Circle K.
- Using the SMIOne Mobile App, you can also deposit checks using mobile check load and receive funds within 10 days or within minutes for a small fee. You can also manage your account, view transactions, and pay bills.
- What could be the reason I am receiving an error message when I try to set up my Direct Deposit or Payment Card?
- When you put your information on the Smart E-Pay website it will verify your name and SSN, so if the SSN does not match what we have on file the application will fail.
- If you have recently changed your name and have notified us regarding the change, the name should be updated in our system within two business days. You will need to wait until the change is complete in our system in order to set up your electronic disbursement.
- What if I prefer to use cash?
You can use the Child Support Payment Card to withdraw cash at any in-network ATMs for a $0 fee.
- What if I would like to receive my Child Support Payments by check?
Per Mandated Electronic Disbursement Policy all recipients (obligees) are required to have a direct deposit or Child Support Payment card on file.
- What will happen if I close my bank account or fail to update invalid direct deposit information?
A child support payment card will automatically be issued.
Where can I review the deposits to my smiONE Child Support Payment card and the current balance?
- If my local county child support office is closed and not accepting in-person payments, how can I pay my child support?
You can find all payment options on the Make a Payment page of this website.
- I have been laid off or furloughed by my employer. How can I request that my monthly child support amount be reviewed for possible modification?
It is important that you contact your local county child support office to discuss this request. Counties have been provided guidance to accept requests from parents for review and adjustment of their child support order via email. Conferences with parents can be conducted virtually (phone, email, Skype, etc.).
- I have been laid off or furloughed by my employer. What enforcement actions will be taken against me if I am unable to pay my full child support amount?
It is important that you contact your local county child support office to discuss these actions. The county worker can explain which enforcement actions remain in place and which have been suspended at this time.
Website Login Troubleshooting
- I can’t set up my account, even though I entered all of the required information. What’s wrong?
You may already have a Paying Parent/Person Receiving Payments Account. Please try to recover your old web account information. The Colorado Child Support Services Program may not have all of the personal information required for registration.
- Social Security Number - This number may not be in our system or may be incorrect.
- Name - We may not have your correct name on file due to a name change. Possible solutions may be to remove a hyphen and/or an apostrophe in your name. Do not enter your nickname. Enter the name exactly as it appears on your case.
- Family Support Registry Account Number - Only enter the first eight digits, including leading zeros. If you have a 10 digit number, you do not need to enter the last two digits.
Contact CDHS_FSRCustomerService@state.co.us by email so that we can look into why you are not able to create an account. Include all the information requested on the registration form in your email.
- Can I change my User ID or Password?
Yes. Once you login to your account, you may change your password or User ID using the "Change Profile" option on the left side of the page.
- I cannot login to my account. Do I need to register again?
Please try to sign in again. If the problem persists, contact Technical Support.
- The font size is too small or too large making the website difficult to read.
Sometimes browser settings can affect how the website pages look. Try to adjust the font size on your browser to make the characters larger or smaller. The website works best with Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, but other browsers should display the text clearly.
- I cannot find the answer to my question.
Please contact Technical Support.