When couples with children divorce, so much time and effort frequently goes into determining the amount of financial support a child will need and which parent will pay how much. Because this period leading up to a court's order for child support is so often the subject of focus, let's take a moment to look at just what happens after child support is awarded. In day-to-day life here in El Paso County, how are child support payments made and received?
First, let's clear up one misconception that some may have. Child support is not paid directly from one parent to the other. One parent doesn't send the other a check, nor do they meet in person to handle the payment. There's no direct electronic payment system, no wires to send. The parents do not have to deal with each other directly at all.
Instead, the parent who pays child support writes a check -- according to the details in the child support order concerning the amount and the due date -- and mails the check to Colorado's Family Support Registry. The FSR is an entity whose sole purpose it is to process these payments. The FSR receives and logs the payment information and then transmits the funds to the recipient parent. The turnaround time is typically several days.
While the FSR may seem like a "middle man," it has some important benefits. A parent who was a victim of domestic violence in the marriage may have good reason to want to avoid the other partner; there may even be a restraining order preventing their contact. The payment information tracked by the FSR is also available to assist officials in enforcing an order for child support, if necessary.
This information is intended to be general in nature only, and not specific legal advice. We hope that providing a clear picture of what to expect in a child support arrangement will help answer questions that El Paso residents may have and inform the choices they make as they move forward.
Source: Colorado Division of Child Support Services, "A Parent's Guide to Child Support," accessed on Dec. 15, 2017