Child Support Recovery Unit
The Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) provides services to ensure families receive the child support they need in order to be able to meet the financial and health needs of their children. More information, specific case information, and resources are available on the Child Support Recovery Unit website: www.childsupport.ia.gov.
What services does CSRU provide?
We help families by establishing and enforcing child and medical support orders, and processing support payments. We do this by:
- Locating parents and their employers or other income sources
- Establishing paternity
- Establishing support orders
- Suspending and reinstating support orders
- Modifying support orders
- Registering other states’ orders for enforcement or modification in Iowa
- Sending and receiving referrals for services to and from other states
- Enforcing support orders through:
- Income withholding
- Offsets of federal and state tax refunds
- Offsets of payments owed to federal and state vendors who do business with government agencies
- Administrative levies of accounts at financial institutions
- License sanctions
- Reporting to credit agencies
- Initiating contempt of court and garnishment actions
- Enforcing health insurance orders through a payor’s employer
- Receiving and disbursing child support and medical support payments
- Answering customers’ questions and concerns
How do I apply for child support services?
Complete the Application for Services form found online at www.childsupport.ia.gov. You may also request an application from your local office. Return the application to the Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) office closest to you. There is no fee to apply for services.
- To find the mailing address of the office closest to you visit the Offices page:
- Enter your address
- The office’s location displays, along with the mailing address
How can I make a child support payment?
The most common method of collecting support is through income withholding. Non-income withholding payments can be made:
- Using a debit or credit card on our website, www.childsupport.ia.gov.
- Using a checking or savings account on our customer website, www.childsupport.ia.gov.
- By automatic withdrawal or on-demand from a checking or savings account or by phone. Forms to sign up to make these types of electronic payments (auto withdrawal or pay by web or phone) are available on our website: www.childsupport.ia.gov.
- With cash at a local retailer using PayNearMe®. The Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit partnership with electronic cash payment provider PayNearMe® allows parents to make their child support payments with cash at more than 300 Iowa and thousands of participating 7-Eleven® and Casey's General Stores® locations nationwide. The process is simple:
- Visit childsupport.ia.gov and select the “Pay with cash using PayNearMe” option. Enter the required information on the PayNearMe website.
- Bring the PayCode to any participating store, ask to make a bill payment, hand the PayCode to the cashier and pay with cash, up to $999. A $1.99 processing fee applies.
- Collect the receipt. Iowa Child Support is notified of your payment. Allow 3 to 4 business days for the payment to post.
- Using MoneyGram. The Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit accepts MoneyGram payments for child support at over 25,000 U.S. agent locations inside retailers including Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and Kroger. How it works:
1. Find a location at www.moneygram.com/mgo/us/en/locations
2. Bring these items with you:
- The Receive Code 14659
- Your Iowa Child Support Case Number
- The payment amount for you child support and fee of $3.99
3. Complete your transaction at the counter. Payments made with MoneyGram take 1–2 business days to process.
All MoneyGram agents accept cash, some also accept PIN debit cards.
- By Mail: Send a check or money order payable to the Collection Services center to:
Note: Always remember to include your CSC case number on your payment.
Whom should I contact for answers about child support?
You may use several methods to get information about child support in general or about your specific case.
- Visit the Child Support Recovery Unit website, www.childsupport.ia.gov.
- Visit the Resources section of the website for information about Child Support
- To view Frequently Asked Questions, click on the “FAQ” tab on the home page
- Call our automated information line, 1-888-229-9223. Information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Contact your local office. Local office contact information can be found on the Offices page of the CSRU website.
Structure of the Child Support Recovery Unit:
The Child Support Recovery Unit has offices throughout the state, organized into 4 regions, which establish and enforce child support.
The Employers Partnering in Child Support (EPICS) unit connects the employer community to the Child Support Recovery Unit. EPICS serves as a single point of contact for employers to get answers to questions about their responsibilities in:
- Withholding child support and medical support payments through income withholding
- Enforcing health insurance
- Enforcing license sanctions
- Reporting new hires, rehires and terminations
The automated telephone information line (IVR) provides information about our services, including payment information. Call 1-888-229-9223 (toll free nationwide) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The customer website, www.childsupport.ia.gov, provides case information, allows you to view payments, make updates, view information about our services.
The Collection Services Center receives and distributes child support payments. It operates as Iowa's State Disbursement Unit (SDU). The address for sending payments:Collection Services CenterPO Box 9125Des Moines, IA 50306-9125
Statistics for the state fiscal year 2020:
- Total caseload: 157,678 cases
- Percentage of cases with court orders: 93.4%
- Total collections: $348 million
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How To Apply For Iowa Child Support
This page provides a general guideline on how to apply for Iowa child support. The first step is getting a court order, it's important to get a court order as soon as the baby is born, especially if the parents are not married. If the parents are legally seperated or divorced then a court order is also needed. Iowa child support usually starts on the date the court order was filed and it is not retroactive. So it is very important to begin the process as soon as possible.
You can obtain a court order through the Iowa child support office, when doing so you have the option to have the agency represent you, obtain a lawyer, or just represent yourself. It is usually the best option to select an attorney to represent you as they do not have an emotional attachment and know the law. Once you have been approved for child support, the next step is to collect Iowa child support payments.
What's involved when applying for Iowa child support?
If you are a single mom and were not married to your child's father then you first need to contact the local Office of Child Support Enforcement, OCSE, so they can help establish paternity. In some circumstances this could require tracking down the other parent in order to perform a genetic test.
What If I Do Not Know Where The Other Parent Is?
You will be asked to provide information of the most recent address of the other parent you are looking for by the Child Support Enforcement Office. The information provided will be utilized by the Federal Parent Locator Service, which is part of the OCSE, by the National Directory of New Hires, State Directories of New Hires and State Employment Security Agencies to assistance in locating the other parent.
Is the Process Long When Applying For Iowa Child Support?
The process for filing for Iowa child support can be a lengthy process due to the amount of agencies this has to go through. You will first be set up with a case worker at the Iowa Department of Human Services, they will walk you through the process of establishing paternity, obtaining a legal child support order, and receiving the actual child support.
Could Applying For Iowa Child Support Allow Visitation Rights?
Though this could lead to allowing visitation rights for the other parent, because it acknowledges the other parent as the biological parent, this is considered a different matter in the court system. If the other parent is proven to be the child's biological parent, then the non-custodial parent can exercise his or her right to visitation. This process would require the other parent to petition the court so that visits can be established.
Are There Fees For Filing For The Iowa Child Support Program?
The fee can vary from state to state but in most cases you may be charged up to $25 to apply for child support through the Iowa Department of Human Services, however if you currently receive TANF or Medicaid then you will not be charged this filing fee.
If you want to move forward with filing for child support, then contact the Iowa child support agency. They will work with you to establish and enforce a child support order. When you apply for child support you will need to provide documents. Below are a list of documents you may need when filing out your Iowa child support application:
- A valid photo id such as your driver's license
- Proof of residency such as a receipt for rent or a utility bill
- Birth Certificate's for your child or children that you are filing to receive child support for
- Latest location information of the other parent
You may also need to bring the following based on your child support application requirements:
- Paternity Test Results
- Divorce Records
- Social Security Cards for you and your children
- Description of Personal Property
- Wage Information such as recent pay stubs or w-2 forms
- Child support payment history
Child Support Recovery
The Attorney General's Office maintains a partnership with the Department of Human Services to promote greater awareness of the need to pay child support. The program focuses on the importance of parents staying involved in their child's life both financially and emotionally even when they are not always physically able to be there because of divorce.
Among the activities of this public awareness program are:
- Information on the responsibilities of parenthood, especially financial responsibility, are distributed to Iowa schools. "Parenting: It's a Life," modules are intended for educational curricula in grades 7 to 12.
- The Attorney General's Office along with the Department of Human Services continues to promote public awareness through community events.
The Child Support Recovery Unit of the Department of Human Services has primary responsibility for the collection of child support. The Customer Service Unit for the Department of Human Services may be reached by calling 888-229-9223. The Attorney General's office provides attorneys to the department to represent the Child Support Recovery Unit in court.
Sometimes, after the judge sets the amount of child support, circumstances or income changes and the amount of the child support is no longer correct. Maybe the noncustodial parent gets a much better job and is making a lot more money. Maybe the noncustodial parent loses his or her job and is not making any money or can only find a new job that pays a lot less money. Sometimes one of the parents becomes disabled and is no longer able to work at all. Sometimes the parents reconcile and start living together again. Sometimes the child goes to live with the parent ordered to pay support.
There are three procedures CSRU can use to change the amount of child support someone is ordered to pay. These are:
Review and Adjustment of Child Support
Review and Adjustment. CSRU will do a Review and Adjustment when there has been a change that would cause the amount of child support to go up or down by more than 20%. An example of such a change would be the noncustodial parent becoming disabled or starts earning more/less than when the order was originally entered. The change must have lasted for at least 3 months and will continue for another 3 months. CSRU will also do a Review and Adjustment if the child has no health insurance and the noncustodial parent becomes able to get health insurance for the child, such as through an employer. CSRU will only do a Review and Adjustment if the current order ends more than 12 months from the date the request for review is received and if it has been at least two years since the last time the amount of child support was changed. Either parent can request the Review.
Administrative Modification. Another thing CSRU can do to change the amount of a child support payment is called an Administrative Modification. This can be done if a parent's net income (after taxes) has changed by 50% or more. Also, the current order must end more than 12 months from the date CSRU receives the request to change the amount of support. There are many other reasons for doing an Administrative Modification, though most of them don't come up as often. CSRU will do an administrative modification when a child needs to be added to the order, when a noncustodial parent is no longer a minor, when the original order did not set a child support amount or set it at zero, and when there is a mistake in the order that needs to be corrected.
Cost-of-Living Alteration. This is a special type of administrative modification. Parents must agree to this type of change in writing. Instead of determining the support obligation by using the Guidelines, CSRU uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the support amount.
Application child iowa support
Information on this web page is general in nature. Descriptions of laws and court procedures are abbreviated. This information is not intended as legal advice. If you do not understand this information or if you need legal advice you should see an attorney.
Iowa Law Overview
In Iowa, parents have a legal obligation to support their minor children. This obligation continues for a child who is between the ages of eighteen and nineteen years who is engaged full-time in completing high school graduation or equivalency requirements in a manner that is reasonably expected to result in completion of requirements prior to the person reaching nineteen years of age. The obligation may include support for a child of any age who is dependent on the parties because of physical or mental disability. See Iowa Code section 598.1(9).
How is child support determined?
Iowa law requires that the amount of a parent's child support obligation be determined by applying uniform child support guidelines prescribed by the Iowa Supreme Court. The purpose of the Iowa Child Support Guidelines is to provide for the best interests of the children by recognizing the duty of both parents to provide adequate support for their children in proportion to their respective incomes. An order may vary from the guideline amount only if the court finds such adjustment necessary to provide for the needs of the children and to do justice between the parties under the special circumstances of individual cases. See Iowa Code section 598.21(B).
Where can I find more information about the Iowa Child Support Guidelines?
The Iowa Child Support Guidelines are contained in Chapter 9 of the Iowa Court Rules (PDF). The chapter contains all of the following: Guidelines Rules, Medical Support Table, Adjusted Net Monthly Income Computation, Basic Method of Child Support Computation, the Joint (Equally Shared) Physical Care Method of Child Support Computation, the Iowa Schedule of Basic Support Obligations, and the Child Support Guidelines Worksheets. Federal law requires the supreme court to review Iowa's Child Support Guidelines every four years to ensure that the Guidelines provide fair and accurate child support amounts.
Will I be required to provide medical support for my child?
Yes. Federal law requires states to address medical support in all child support orders, including requiring either parent to provide medical support. Medical support includes the payment of medical, dental, prescription, and other health care expenses for a child. Medical support can be either health insurance or cash medical support.
Most medical support requirements can be found in Iowa Code section 252E.1A. The statute sets the standard for reasonable cost medical support at no more than 5% of a parent's gross income, but it also authorizes the supreme court to adopt a standard other than 5% in the child support guidelines. The supreme court adopted an alternate standard for low-income parents, which provides that reasonable cost medical support is either health insurance or cash medical payments that cost between zero and five percent of the parent's gross income.
Where do I send child support payments?
All child support payments must be sent to either the clerk of court office or the Child Support Recovery Unit collection centers of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Do not send payments directly to the other parent. If you are in doubt as to the proper location for sending your payment, check your child support order. See Iowa Code sections 598.22 and 252B.14.
If you have a question about a payment that is processed by the clerk of court office, you may check records online or go to the appropriate clerk of court office. Clerk of court offices do not provide case information over the telephone. If you have a question about a payment that is processed by the collections services center, you may contact the Child Support Recovery Unit’s 24-hour interactive voice response at 1-888/229-9223 (toll free) or visit the Child Support Recovery Unit website.
Am I responsible for paying for my child’s college education?
Iowa law provides that a court may order parents to pay certain college expenses of a child. This amount is referred to as a "post secondary subsidy." In determining whether to order this subsidy, the court shall consider the age of the child, the child's abilities, the child's financial resources, whether the child is self-sustaining, and the financial condition of each parent.
The amount of a court-ordered post secondary subsidy is based upon: (1) the reasonable cost of attending an in-state public institution for a course of study leading to an undergraduate degree and reasonable costs for only necessary postsecondary education expenses; and (2) the child's financial resources including the availability of financial aid and the child's ability to work while attending school.
After deducting the child's expected contribution, the court shall apportion the cost remaining among the parents. However, the amount paid by each parent shall not exceed 33 1/3 percent of the total cost of the post secondary education. The post secondary subsidy shall be paid to the child or the educational institution—not the custodial parent. See Iowa Code section 598.21F.
How are child support orders enforced?
Iowa law provides a number of measures for enforcing compliance with a child support order, including income withholding, garnishment, liens, and contempt of court. If a parent has not complied with a support order, it is the responsibility of the other parent to initiate steps to enforce. You should consult with an attorney about appropriate action or contact the Child Support Recovery Unit at 1-888/229-9223 (toll free) or visit the Child Support Recovery Unit website. See Iowa Code section 598.23.
How are child support orders modified?
Child support orders may be modified if the court finds that a substantial change of circumstances has occurred. A party must apply to the court for a modification of an order. When determining if there is a substantial change in circumstances, the court shall consider numerous factors, including: changes in the employment, earning capacity, income, or resources of a party; receipt of an inheritance, pension or other gift; changes in medical expenses of a party; changes in number or needs of dependents of a party; changes in the residence of a party; or remarriage of a party. See Iowa Code 598.21C.
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