Understanding different kinds of child support cases

Many parents in Florida are confused by what they encounter when they first begin to navigate the child support system. It may not be clear why some families handle child support payments through a state agency while others make their payments privately. However, there are four different kinds of child support cases, and the type of case determines how each is processed.

Child support cases are classified as "IV-D," "IV-A," "IV-E" or "non-IV-D." The number "IV" comes from the 1975 Social Security Act's Title IV, which addresses federal grants to states to provide services to families with children. IV-D cases are those in which the Office of Child Support Enforcement provides some kind of assistance to the custodial parent, including establishing paternity or enforcing a support order. In IV-A cases, the custodial parent is receiving some form of state public assistance. In these cases, state agencies are automatically involved in an effort to defray their costs.

In IV-E cases, non-parents provide most of the care for the children, including foster parents or another family member. The Office of Child Support Enforcement will attempt to seek compensation from the child's parents. The majority of divorce cases are non-IV-D child support cases. Here, child support payments are maintained on a private basis as the non-custodial parent provides support straight to the custodial parent. If the paying parent falls behind on payments and the state needs to step in to collect, these cases could be reclassified as IV-D cases.

When dealing with the child support system, it's important to understand these categories. When parents run into difficulties paying child support or suddenly face non-payment from the other parent, they can seek assistance from a family law attorney. A lawyer can help a parent file the appropriate action to address issues with child support.

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