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How states collect and distribute child support

35010665_S.jpgIf Illinois divorced parents have a formal child support order, this support is administered through the state disbursement unit. In general, this unit receives support from the noncustodial parent and then distributes it to the custodial parent.

If a noncustodial parent is receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, in some states, the child support might be used to reimburse the state and federal government for the TANF payments. However, research supports passing through the child support to families because it has been shown to make child support payments more consistent. Families tend to be more financially stable and better able to move from welfare to work. Doing so also tends to makes the father less likely to participate in the underground economy.

A state disbursement unit is responsible for identifying payments, disbursing them and giving any records of payments to courts or the parents. The SDU is required to disburse payments within two days of receipt unless there are arrears that are in dispute.

There are a number of elements to getting child support depending on the situation. For example, if the parents are unmarried, it might be necessary to establish paternity. If the noncustodial parent's income is reduced, that parent should not simply stop paying support. A parent can apply for a child support modification based on a change in circumstances. A court must approve the change, and until the approval happens, the parent will continue to owe the same amount of money. Child support arrears may accrue interest, and child support agencies may use a number of tools to pursue a parent who is not paying child support. This could include garnishing the parent's wages.

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