According to the U.S. Census, 6.5 million single parents in 2014 had a formal agreement in place to receive child support payments from their child’s other parent. The average payment was reported to be slightly less than $500 per month. If you’re one of these parents who depends on child support for the benefit of your children, you might wonder how long it takes in order to begin to receive payments.
It Depends on the Case
The short answer is that each case is different. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to start receiving payments after you file a claim. Collecting child support is a matter of filing a court case, establishing an order for support, and then collecting the payments. The other parent has a chance to respond, and both parents have a right to a hearing.
How long this process takes depends on the extent to which the parties are able to agree on issues like custody and a parenting time schedule. There also may be questions about the income of one or both parents. If that’s the case, the parents have time to investigate the matter and present it to the court for the court’s decision. Once the court makes its ruling, you can begin to collect payments from the other parent in order to fulfill the child support order. In most cases, you can back date the payments to the date you filed the case or further.
Child Support Disbursement
Once you have a child support order established, receiving your first payment can happen in just a few weeks. When the other parent works for wages, this can be as simple as sending an income withholding order to the employer. You can check with your local court about whether or not you need to send this withholding order or if it will be done on your behalf. Once the employer has this order, they should immediately start taking payments directly out of the other parent’s paycheck.
- Unless you agree otherwise, these payments go through a state disbursement unit and then to you.
- In some cases, you receive the payments on a debit card. You can also opt for direct deposit.
- It can take as little as a few days or as much as a few weeks for the payment to move from the employer to the state disbursement unit and then to your bank account.
If the other parent doesn’t work for an employer, they make their payments directly to the other parent. If they don’t pay, you can take legal steps to enforce the payment. A divorce lawyer can advise you of your legal options and guide you through the process.
Your Local Court May Have Its Own Time Frame
Every local county court system handles their own child support cases. That means they each have their own way of scheduling court hearings and processing paperwork. When you initiate a case, some courts send the case to a Friend of the Court or similar agency in order to conduct an immediate investigation and put a temporary order in place in approximately two weeks. Other courts might schedule court hearings and wait for the parties to present information formally before making any decisions.
Do Your Part
These local differences can make a difference in the time that it takes for a parent to begin to receive child support payments on behalf of a child. While you can’t control the way that your local court handles the process, you can do your part to move the case along. If the court asks for information about your income, return the information as soon as possible. If you have an upcoming court date, bring all of the information that you can and consider your state’s rules for admitting evidence. This can help you get your support payments as quickly as possible. Consult with a child custody attorney Phoenix AZ locals trust to find out more specific information based on the unique circumstances of your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors Hildebrand Law for providing their insight into Child Custody and Child Support Expertise.