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Child Support Frequently Asked Questions: Collection

  1. What is the difference between the Family Support Registry and Child Support Enforcement Unit?

    Both the Family Support Registry (FSR) and the Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) are state-level governmental agencies that deal with collection of child support. As Denver child support attorneys, it is quite common for us to talk to people with mistaken beliefs as to the entities and their roles or functions. The FSR is a state-run central holding tank that receives child support (and alimony) payments from the payers and then distributes the funds out to the payees. The FSR can now distribute payments to the recipient via check, direct deposit, or directly onto an FSR card, which functions much like a credit card. The FSR is also a good tool for keeping track of the child support payment history in your case. In Colorado, if either party to a child support case requests that payments be made through the FSR, the court will grant that request over any objection from the other party. The FSR is not a child support collection agency. It does not deal with enforcement of orders, non-payment, or collection from those who are not paying.

    People often presume that the FSR is the same thing as, or a branch, of a county’s CSEU. Each county has its own CSEU, which generally functions in tandem with a special branch of the District Attorney’s office. The CSEU is primarily charged with establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support, and sometimes alimony orders. Any party to a child support case can sign up for CSEU services for a nominal intake fee. Unlike the FSR, the CSEU is the agency which will take various types of measures to see that child support orders are followed, including income assignments, wage garnishment, liens, contempt of court proceedings, tax refund intercepts, and the suspension of driver’s or other professional licenses for non-payment of child support.

    The CSEU can also be a helpful tool in terms of tracking finding employment information on someone who is not paying, as it can access Department of Labor records. The CSEU can also assist with transferring child support matters to other states, or enforcing foreign child support orders. Though private attorneys can take many of the same steps, their reach may not be as far as the CSEU and generally does not cross state lines. At the same time, the CSEU may be slower than a private attorney in terms of establishing, modifying, or collecting child support. People signing up for enforcement services may also give up some of their rights in terms of having a say in terms of how much back support is collected.

  2. Will the county child support enforcement unit help me collect back medical bills?

    No. Child support enforcement units are only charged with enforcing orders for actual “child support,” and collecting such. In some counties, the unit will also assist with collection of alimony (maintenance) if there is also a child support order. Though medical bills for children are certainly child support related, they are not actual “child support,” unless the orders or agreement specifically say they are. If compensation for medical bills is owed, one can file a separate motion with the court regarding them. This can include contempt of court or other remedies. If the issue of non-reimbursement is chronic and there are known recurring monthly medical expense for the child(ren), a party could seek a modification of child support to get the monthly amount included into the child support calculation. At that point, the child support enforcement until could assist, as the medical bills are now part of the actual child support calculation. Child support enforcement units will also not assist with other child support related issues, such as getting orders entered regarding payment of activities or dealing with allocation of the right to claim children for dependency exemption purposes. These are issues one will need to deal with on his or her own or with our careful assistance.

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