Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the function of the Office of Recovery Services Child Support Program?
- What about custody and visitation issues?
- Can you collect support even if the other parent lives in another state.
- How do I open a child support case?
- What information does ORS/CSS need to proceed with a case.
- What if I can't answer all of the questions in the application form?
- How long after a case is opened will I receive child support?
- What about collecting child care?
- How do I find out who my agent is?
- What happens if the non-custodial parent owes support to another person too?
- Can I also use a private child support collection agency while I have an open case with ORS/CSS?
- Who do I call for more information?
- How can I get my child support amount raised?
The Office of Recovery Services (ORS), is an agency located within the Utah Department of Human Services . Within ORS, Child Support Services (CSS), is responsible for collecting child and medical support. Services include locating parents, establishing paternity, establishing and modifying child support orders, and enforcing child support orders and medical insurance obligations. ORS/CSS can also collect spousal support (alimony) if a dollar amount is ordered with child support in the divorce decree.
ORS/CSS does not address legal custody or visitation issues. To determine these issues initially, we suggest you hire a private attorney. Utah law requires the child support obligation to follow the child. This means we will enforce the support obligation against the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. If neither parent has physical custody of a child who is living with a relative, we will enforce the obligations of both parents. When physical custody of the child changes, we may enforce the obligation against the other parent (or parents) without modifying the order.
If you are having problems with court ordered visitation or custody because you do not know the location of the other parent, ORS/CSS may be able to send an address request to the Federal Parent Locator Service.
Yes. If a non-custodial parent lives in another state, ORS/CSS will either send a notice to withhold income directly to the parent's employer in the other state or will ask that state to pursue child support collection. Even though each state operates independently from another, each is subject to Federal rules regarding how a child support case is handled. Once the case is sent to the other states child support agency, the case becomes that states case, and ORS/CSS cannot dictate how the case is handled.
Child support services are available to parents and relatives who fill out and sign a child support application . Also, anyone receiving public assistance or Medicaid will automatically be referred to ORS/CSS for child support collection.
The more information you provide in the application, the better. Also, be sure to attach to the application copies of all appropriate legal documents, such as: birth certificates, Voluntary Declaration of Paternity documents, divorce decrees, judgments, order modifications, etc. You will be contacted if ORS/CSS needs further information to proceed.
It is extremely important that you provide as much information as possible so ORS/CSS can proceed with your case and that you cooperate with ORS/CSS in collection efforts. Often the information that you provide to us makes the biggest difference in how effectively your case is worked. Although ORS/CSS has access to many state and federal sources which provide us with addresses and other information, some of this information is out-of-date by the time we receive it. We suggest that you fill out the necessary forms to the best of your ability, consulting copies of tax forms, military papers, vehicle registrations, family members and friends, etc., as necessary to find the information; then if you learn about more information later, call the Customer Service Unit (CSU) and report it. It can help our efforts to collect support.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that child support will be collected. Although ORS/CSS has access to many location sources and has many enforcement techniques available, including the option to take parents to court for civil contempt and criminal non-support, there will always be instances where child support cannot be collected.
In general, ORS/CSS will open a case record within 20 days of receiving an application and will begin to take necessary action on the case. The length of time each case takes depends on what action needs to be taken (for example, paternity must be established before an order can be established; and an order must be established before ORS/CSS can begin collecting.) For more information on case processing time frames, read the Notice of Services.
ORS/CSS can only collect child care at the request of either parent if the child care amount is included in a court order along with a child support obligation, and neither parent is disputing the monthly amount. ORS will try to enforce past-due child care expenses if you obtain a judgment from the court.
For questions about your case, you should call the appropriate Customer Service Unit (CSU). The only time you would need to contact a particular agent is if his/her phone number is listed on a letter or notice you receive from ORS/CSS, or the agent contacts you for further information. Although you may not speak to the same person each time you call CSU, each CSU representative is able to assist you with questions and concerns about your case, such as case status requests. For routine payment questions, you can call our automated phone line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to find out if a payment was posted and/or sent. If you have a complaint about the way your case is being handled, it is also appropriate that you contact CSU as a first step in resolving issues.
Please keep in mind that ORS/CSS (and the Office of the Attorney General) does not represent either parent. The role of ORS/CSS is to ensure that children receive the support to which they are entitled. If you are unhappy with the level of service you receive at ORS/CSS, it may suit your situation better for you to hire a private attorney or contract with a private agency.
When ORS/CSS receives a payment, the payment is prorated to current support in all cases to which the non-custodial parent owes.
ORS/CSS will not automatically close your case when you contract with a private agency or attorney but you will be required to provide ORS/CSS with the name and address of the private agent. It is also essential that you and the private agent keep ORS/CSS informed of actions taken on your behalf. ORS/CSS will be unable to change the name of the payee on the case to the private agent or attorney because support checks issued by ORS/CSS must be made payable in accordance with 45 CFR 302.38, which requires the payments be made in the name of the "resident parent, legal guardian, or caretaker relative having custody of or responsibility for the child or children."
For more information about child support services, including processing time frames, fees, etc., please read the Notice of Services . Also, for general information or for information about your case, you may call the Customer Service Unit (CSU) in any of the ORS/CSS offices.
In Utah, child support obligations are computed using an income shares formula established by the Utah State legislature. This means that both parent's incomes are used to compute the monthly child support amount. The number of children and other factors are also used to determine how much obligated parents are required to pay. Child support guidelines worksheets and tables are used to calculate support obligations. If you believe the amount of current child support should be raised, it may be possible to pursue a review and adjustment of the support amount through ORS/CSS if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, or it has been more than three years since the order was issued, modified, or reviewed. The review will determine whether the child support amount should be adjusted. An adjustment is the change to the ordered amount, which will result in a modification of your order. If an adjustment is appropriate, the new amount could be higher or lower than the amount in your present order. Before you request that ORS/CSS conduct a review and adjustment, you may want to estimate what the new support amount could be. ORS/CSS has prepared a pre-review packet with worksheet forms and instructions which you or the other parent may use to do the estimate. Click here to find out about the pre-review process and to read and print appropriate forms and worksheets. If you want to request a review and adjustment of your support amount, please make your request in writing to ORS/CSS. If you request a review and adjustment and later ask to stop the process, it can only be stopped if the other parent does not request that it continue. If the process is stopped, neither parent can request a review for a period of one year.