Child Support in Alaska
The parents of a child are required by law to provide for their child from birth till the child attains adulthood. Normally, this is done within a family, however, in some cases the parents may not be together. It is therefore important that while the child may live with one parent, the other parent steps up to their own part of the responsibility. This article will give information about child support in the State of Alaska.
What is Child Support Payment?
Child support payments are financial obligations that a parent has to pay on a regular basis for the care of their child. These payments are made to the other parent who has the child in custody and are meant to be used for improving the welfare of the child. Through child support payments, non-custodial parents undertake their own share of work in providing for the child.
The Child Support Process
In Alaska, child support payments can be set up either by a court order or through the state’s Child Support Services Division (CSSD). Court orders are usually required when there is a divorce or custody case for the child. If there is no divorce or custody, the custodial parent can go through the CSSD to administratively establish a child support order.
Parents who desire to apply for child support can do so on the Child Support Services Division website https://childsupport.alaska.gov/. A profile must be created to proceed with the application. CSSD then locates the other parent and serves them with a notice about the child support request. Once paternity has been established, the child support obligation is calculated using the CSSD calculator which can be found at https://webapp.state.ak.us/cssd/guidelinecalc/login. This gives an idea of how much is to be expected as child support. The parents can also agree on an amount higher than what is specified. Payments are then made on a monthly basis until the child turns 19 years old or finishes from high school. The custodial parent can also apply for adjustments to the child support payments as the income of the non-custodial parent changes by filling the form found at http://dor.alaska.gov/Portals/7/Documents/Forms/04-1686A_Request_for_Modification-Fill-in.pdf?
How do You Receive Child Support Payments?
Custodial parents of child have two options for receiving the child support payments. The payments may be received on a special debit card known as the Key2Benefits Card. This is a MasterCard branded debit card that can be reloaded (by the child support payments) and used to pay bills or purchase items online for the child. Without incurring extra charges, The Key2Benefits card can be used to make withdrawals at KeyBank and Allpoint ATMs.
The custodial parent have another option. She/He may also choose to receive the funds into their savings account through a direct deposit. This means that the funds go directly into a bank account specified by the custodial parent. This bank information can be registered or modified by visiting https://my.alaska.gov/.
Maximum Amount Receivable as Child Support
The amount of money to be paid as child support is calculated as a percentage of the adjusted income of the non-custodial parent. The calculation may also take the parenting arrangement into consideration. The amount is 20% of the non-custodial parent’s adjusted income for one child, It is 27% for two children. For three children, it is 33%, and for subsequent children, 3% additions are made. Some high-income parents can take advantage of the high-income cap rule. Under this rule, the amount of adjusted income used for calculation of child support will not exceed $100,000, even if the parent’s adjusted income exceeds that. It is also important to note that the minimum monthly payment acceptable as child support is $50. Details on the maximum and minimum limits of child support payments can be found at https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/ESA/dcs/documents/15Alaska%20Guidelines.pdf.
Enforcement of Child Support
In a bid to enforce child support orders, the CSSD can issue withholding orders for the property and wages of the non-custodial parent, including bank accounts and other assets. Self-employed parents who refuse to pay child support may have the funds collected from their business accounts. The state occupational license of the business could also be withdrawn to force the parent to pay up.
Parents cannot escape their child support payments by declaring bankruptcy. Even if they file for bankruptcy, the child support debt will still remain on record. The CSSD can also draw on child support payment debt from the unemployment benefits of the non-custodial parent.
Finally, based on federal law, the non-custodial parent may be prosecuted if they attempt to flee the state as a way of avoiding child support payments. For more details on the enforcement of child support payments by the CSSD, visit https://childsupport.alaska.gov/Home/Frequently-Asked-Questions/Child-Support-Enforcement-Services-FAQ.aspx.