The following is a list of tips for parents who are considering a divorce for how to best plan ahead for the collection of child support. With government child support enforcement agencies struggling with a backlog of over 15 million cases of unpaid child support, difficulties in collecting the money owed to America’s children are all too common. Planning ahead – before and during a divorce – can help avoid years of frustration.

The following are some important tips:

1. Make sure you understand what is in your divorce decree – especially the order for child support.

2. Keep accurate records of all child support received.

3. Be sure you have copies of your children’s birth certificates and a copy of the court order.

4. Knowing how to find the non-custodial parent is a key factor in ensuring that child support payments are made regularly, as is detailed knowledge about income sources. Maintain records about the non-custodial parent, including:

a. Current and/or recent addresses
b. Social security number
c. Current and recent employers
d. Names and contact information of friends, relatives and organizations to which he or she might belong
e. Information about his or her income and assets (pay slips, tax returns, bank accounts, investments, property holdings, etc.).

5. Understand your options for getting help in child support collections should the need arise. Most people start with their government agency. Other options include legal aid, private attorneys, online resources and private agencies.

6. Don’t use your kids as pawns for negotiation with the non-custodial parent. Keep your child’s well-being and the child support issue separate.

7. Educate yourself. The child support laws are different in each state, so be sure you’re familiar with the laws that apply in your case.

8. Advocate for your family. The longer your family goes without the child support owed, the more difficult it will be to collect. Be proactive in seeking out the money that is owed
to your children.

SOURCE: Adapted from Your Child Your Divorce