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Starting a Child Support Case

How do I apply for child support services?
Anyone who has a child support or medical support order, wants to establish one, or anyone who wants to establish paternity, can apply for Child Support Services (CSS) services by completing and returning an Application for Child Support Services form to their local CSS office. Use the County Unit lookup on this site to find the address and phone number of your county CSE Unit. In addition, you may go to your local CSE Unit in person or call and ask for an application.

Do I have to apply for Child Support Services in the county and state where I live?
No. However, it is usually most convenient to have your case in the county where you live. If another Colorado county issued your child support court order, you may also apply there or to the county and state where the other party lives.

What if I have never had a child support order established?
The local Child Support Services (CSE) Unit can help establish paternity and a child support order if needed. The local CSE Unit can also enforce the child support order and work with the Family Support Registry to see that child support payments are sent to you in a quick and efficient manner.

Can I apply for Child Support Services if my children are emancipated, but the person obligated to pay support still owes money on the child support order?
No. Applications will not be accepted if all of the children associated with a specific obligee and obligor are emancipated as defined in the existing child support order and the laws of the state where the child support order was entered.

When I apply, how long will it take to get my child support payments started?
When payments begin depends on a number of factors, such as whether or not paternity and a child support order have been established, how much information is supplied on the application about the residence, employment, and assets of the person obligated to pay the child support, and whether or not that person can be located. Your local Child Support Enforcement Unit can give you a better idea of the time frame depending upon the circumstances of your case.

>Do I have to apply if I'm receiving public assistance?
If you are receiving Colorado Works, sometimes called TANF, then your single purpose application will act as your application. You are automatically referred to the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Unit in this situation. If you are receiving Medicaid, the Medicaid application works as your application.

Public assistance programs such as Food Stamps or Public Housing do not offer automatic referrals for CSS services. You will need to complete the application for child support services in these situations.

Do I have to attend court hearings regarding my child support application?
Possibly. It depends on possible actions that may be needed. Actions such as establishment of a child support order, modification of a child support order or contempt of court are examples of actions that may require you to attend a court hearing. Your local Child Support Enforcement Unit will be able to tell you what court actions may be needed in your case and if your presence is required in court.

What is your state's age of emancipation?
If your child support order was issued in Colorado, unless a court finds that a child is emancipated for another reason, emancipation occurs and child support ends when the child reaches 19 years of age. However, if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program, support continues until the end of the month following graduation but not beyond the age of 21. Child support can also continue past the age of 19 if both of the parties agree in a written stipulation, or the child is mentally or physically disabled and continued support is ordered.

Colorado's age of emancipation was lowered from 21 to 19 years of age on July 1, 1991. If your order was issued before July 1, 1991, the age of emancipation may be different. Please contact your local Child Support Enforcement Unit or a private attorney to determine the age of emancipation.

How do I obtain a certified copy of a court order?
An order can be obtained by contacting the clerk of the court that issued the order.

What is the status of my case?
By federal regulation, custodial parties must give information to and receive information from the state in which they requested services. Please contact your local caseworker.

If you are a caseworker from another state, please contact the county Child Support Enforcement Unit responding to your case. If you do not know which county is processing your case, contact the Central Registry to request that information.

Where can I find information on other states' laws and agency contacts?
Look for the Online Interstate Roster and Referral Guide (IRG) at the Federal Office of Child Support Services website. It contains contact information for the child support agencies in every state as well as information on the states' child support laws.

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 get a case open in another state. However, many factors influence the amount of time it takes to begin receiving money, such as whether or not there is already a child support order and how quickly the other state can serve the party obligated to pay support with the paperwork. Your local caseworker can answer more specific questions regarding this process.

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