The noncustodial parent in a child support case is the person who does not live with the child but, along with the custodial party, has a responsibility to provide financial and/or medical support.
Role & Responsibilities of the Noncustodial Parent
Noncustodial parents are responsible for:
- Payment of child support and provide health care coverage or cash medical support as ordered by the court.
- Responding to the court's and OCSE's request for information.
- Notifying OCSE and the court if you move, change employers, have a change of income, or change names
OCSE and You
OCSE will attempt to notify you before taking action to collect and enforce the child support obligation. Most of the time this will be in the form of a letter or notice mailed, sometimes by certified mail, to your home. Don’t just ignore those letters. If you do, you may lose your chance to tell your side of the story and be a part of the decisions made regarding your child and supporting him or her.
Things to Know
- Have your case number ready when you call. If you don't know your case number, we'll have to ask questions to determine your identity.
- OCSE does not represent the custodial party – OCSE represents the State of Arkansas and its interest in seeing that the children are financially cared for.
- Your paternity or child support case will be decided without you if you do not respond to a court summons. You can be named the legal father and ordered to pay child support even if you don’t go to court. Ignoring legal documents is never a good idea.
- Understand the consequences of signing a legal document before you sign. Once a legal document is signed and filed, it is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to change, and it is almost always costly. If you don’t understand the documents, you should contact an attorney who can help you.
- You should provide as much information as you can to OCSE about your financial situation so that your support order can be set at a realistic amount.
- Avoiding child support will only make matters worse. Unpaid child support doesn’t go away when your child turns 18 or if you declare bankruptcy, go to jail, or move to another state. The amount you owe only gets bigger with each month it goes unpaid.
- If your child comes to live with you, notify the child support office. You should keep paying child support until you are told by OCSE or the court that you are no longer required to do so.
- If you hire a private attorney, OCSE will discuss your case only with your attorney. Once you no longer employ an attorney, we will resume discussing your case with you.
- OCSE does not have the authority to monitor the way a custodial party spends court-ordered child support.
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