Raising children can be a rather expensive endeavor and may be very challenging to do with the income of just one person. The state of Delaware has child support laws to help custodial parents with the costs of raising a child. This is done by requesting that the non-custodial parents make periodic monthly payments to cover some of the costs of the child’s upbringing.
Child Support Process After Divorce
To begin a child support suit, the parent requesting for support must first file a support petition. This is a court order requesting that the person named as the other parent of the child pay support. It is important that the parent is located and served with legal papers so that the procedure can begin. Various resources are deployed by the state to locate the other parent. The person filing for support is expected to provide details like an address, full name, social security number, picture, etc. to help speed up the location process. To get further information, visit https://courts.delaware.gov/family/support/.
When the other parent has been located, the legal papers are served. However, in a case being brought against the father of the child, there may be a need to establish legal paternity. Delaware runs has a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity program that allows both parents decide easily on paternity by signing an acknowledgement form, so long as they agree. This program also allows a 60-day period for any of the parents to withdraw or rescind their decision. The advantage of Delaware’s voluntary acknowledgment is that it helps in naming the father without having to go to Family Court. For more details on this, visit https://dhss.delaware.gov/dcss/volack.html.
If the alleged father of the child contests that the child is not his, the court will order a genetic test to be carried out to determine parentage. Tests like these can determine if the man is the father of the child, with up to 99% accuracy. Once paternity of the child is established, the court then proceeds to calculate the amount that is to be paid as child support.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
Parents receiving child support in Delaware have some options available for them to get their payments. They can either opt for checks, direct deposits, or a Stored Value Card.
Checks can be issued or mailed to the parent receiving child support so that they can go and cash them. This method is usually not advised as mailing checks opens many chances for things to go wrong, such as someone stealing the check from the mailbox. Also, checks incur a processing fee when taken to be cashed.
The direct deposit arrangement allows parents to receive the child support entitlements as payments made straight to their bank accounts. The use of direct deposits is possible when a parent registers their bank account and specifies it to be used as the reception point for their child support entitlements.
The final option is using a Stored Value Card. In Delaware, parents who have no bank account and do not desire to open one can receive their child support payments via a state-issued debit card. This is a prepaid card that is funded once the non-custodial parent pays their support obligation. The card can be used to make purchases and withdraw money at any points where a MasterCard is accepted.
For further information on the options available for receiving child support payments, visit https://dhss.delaware.gov/dcss/get_dd.html and https://dhss.delaware.gov/dcss/storedvaluecard.html.
Maximum Amount Receivable as Child Support
The Family Court in Delaware determines the exact amount of child support to be paid by a parent. This calculation is based on the number of children, special needs of the child (if any), salary of both parents, etc. The salary of both parents is considered because they both have an obligation to support the child. Details on the child support formula calculation can be gotten at https://courts.delaware.gov/forms/download.aspx?ID=109568. However, the exact amount ordered by the court may differ based on evidence provided by each parent. The payments are made until the child turns 18 years old. If the child is still in high school, they payments continue until the child is done with high school or turns 19 years old, whichever comes first.
Enforcement of Child Support
Parents who default on their child support payments may be petitioned by the Delaware Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) or the parent to receive support. At the court hearing, the defaulting parent may be required to pay extra in addition to what was owed. The state can also directly deduct the payments from the parent’s wages once the employer is identified. The DCSS can also resort to other means like credit reporting. suspension of licenses held by the parent, interception of lottery winnings and tax refunds, etc
In addition, any parent who owes $2500 or more in their child support payments will be denied passport applications. For more information about these enforcement options, visit https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dcss/enforce.html.