GETTING STARTED: HOW TO ESTABLISH CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES

Applying for services or receiving services from the IV-D Child Support Division does not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and the Child Support Division.  The Child Support Division is not your attorney.

To apply for services from the Child Support Division, the custodial parent must provide the following items:

  1. A copy of the child(ren)'s birth certificate(s). Please obtain a copy of the birth certificate(s) from the Elkhart County Health Department. This will be at your expense.
  2. A photograph of the non-custodial parent, if available.
  3. A completed Paternity Information Questionnaire, if the child is born out of wedlock and paternity has not been established through the courts.
  4. A completed UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) Questionnaire, if the non-custodial parent lives in another state.
  5. If the child(ren) have been legally adopted, you will need to provide a copy of the adoption decree or the name and location of the court that approved the adoption.

If court documents are requested and are not located in Elkhart County, please provide us with the name and address of the courthouse and court cause number, and we may be able to obtain the documents for you.

For parties married but separated with no pending court action, the Child Support Division will prepare a support petition and file it with the court. Both parents then have to appear in court, during which a support and health insurance order will be entered.

Application for Services

If the custodial parent is a recipient of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits, he/she is automatically a participant in the Title IV-D program. If the custodial parent is receiving Medicaid, he/she can apply to the program, and the $25 fee will be waived. If the custodial parent is not receiving Medicaid or TANF, he/she will need to submit an application and pay a one-time fee of $25, which must be a money order payable to the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Opening a File

After verifying that application information is correct, the Child Support Division opens a case file and sets a hearing date for the custodial and non-custodial parent and their child(ren) to appear in court, if there is no existing order.

Hearing/Establishing Paternity

If the child(ren) are born of out wedlock, and if the alleged father of the child(ren) denies paternity, a DNA test will be done at the court hearing. The State of Indiana fronts the initial cost of $25 per DNA sample, which is subject to reimbursement by the proven father.

If the man is found to be the father, the results will be filed with the court, and a hearing will be set for entry of a support order.

Income Withholding and Making Payments

An income withholding order is entered and forwarded to the non-custodial parent's employer immediately.

Until the payments are withheld from the non-custodial parent's paycheck, it is the non-custodial parent's responsibility to make payments for distribution to the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent should not send money directly to the custodial parent because the payment may not be regarded as a child support payment but as a gift. Cash payments may be made to the clerk of the court at the County-Courts Building in Elkhart. Payments by check or money order may be made to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU).

If the non-custodial parent changes employment, the non-custodial parent needs to provide the Child Support Division with the name, address and phone number of the new employer. A change in employment may result in a delay of withheld income, but the non-custodial parent is still responsible to make child support payments until he/she sees it coming out of his/her paycheck. The non-custodial parent also is responsible for reporting a new job or new home address to the court by completing a form called a "Chronological Case Summary Entry Form" at the courthouse.

Continued Monitoring

The Child Support Division continues to monitor child support payments and will take action if the non-custodial parent has missed 4-6 consecutive payments. A contempt hearing will be scheduled, during which the non-custodial parent must appear in court if the Child Support Division cannot locate an employer of the non-custodial parent.

Indiana support orders remain in effect until one of the following occurs:

  • Child reaches 19 years of age
  • The court orders modification of support, emancipation or change of custody