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Common Questions Asked

Questions and Answers About Our Private Child Support Enforcement Agency

GENERAL FAQ

CLIENT FAQ

Are you the same thing as my local government child support office?

No. We are not the same, we are a separate entity and do not have any other office locations. If you are looking for your local child support office you should contact your clerk of the court for help obtaining that information.

How does this work?

We are a private child support enforcement agency, meaning we are not your state or local child support enforcement office. We are hired by custodial parents or guardians that have a valid court order that is not being paid. Our goal as well as our mission is to help collect unpaid child support for families that may not be able to collect their money any other way.

Do I need a support order for you to help me?

Yes, we only get involved in cases in which the obligation for support has already been established by a court or administrative order and the absent/non-custodial parent is behind on that obligation.

What do you do differently than the state/county enforcement offices?

We have some of the same abilities they do, such as wage garnishments, liens and the ability to bring a case into court with an attorney hired by our office. Being a private company we have a much smaller caseload. Our collection efforts are much more intensified than any state agency. We pursue communication with the absent/non-custodial parent, as well as research information looking for assets and we hold the parent accountable for each payment. Because we have a smaller caseload we have the ability to spend a lot of time and effort on each case so that it receives the individual attention it deserves.

Our caseworkers take an aggressive approach when dealing with the absent/non-custodial parent. They are trained to deal with the tough cases, always looking for something that is not easily found by the methods sometimes used by the government offices. We rely heavily on the information provided by our clients. We commonly see cases where the person is working for cash, changing their personal identification information, jumping from job to job, etc.

We understand the frustrations involved with a case that has continually seemed to fall between the cracks of our judicial system. Our goal is to be an alternative method available to custodial parents. We are hired to enforce a case and only receive payment for our work if we collect the money. It is important we find a way to recover the unpaid child support or we do not stay in business. It's that simple.

Do you work in every state?

No, some states have sought to eliminate private child support enforcement agencies and some have succeeded. Go to our state map and click on your state to see if we can help! In a situation where you may no longer live in the state where the order was filed, you should review both states as some laws have become so strict that we may not be able to help you even if you live in one state and your order is from another. If there are questions about your eligibility please contact us, csrs@childsupportrecovery.com or toll free 1-800-607-5437.

My children are over the age of 18, can you still help me collect?

Yes, in most situations. If a child support arrearage exists we believe we can continue to assist your effort to enforce the order. There are statute of limitations put in place by many states, check our state map to check the statute of limitation specific to your situation. If there are questions about your eligibility please contact us, csrs@childsupportrecovery.com or toll free 1-800-607-5437.

What does it cost me to get started with your agency?

There are no up front fees or applications fees. Our services are provided on a contingency basis. We collect or we don't get paid.

Can you guarantee you will be able to collect my child support?

No. A guarantee is something we never give to a potential client. We do guarantee we will do everything we possibly can to try and collect the money that is owed. The thing to keep in mind is that the case came to us for a reason, usually because other attempts to collect the child support have failed for one reason or another. It is our job to work the case as best we can to try and determine why the money is not getting paid and then find a way to change that.

More often than not we are able to make the collection happen but there are some cases that we cannot. Most commonly an uncollectible case falls into one of the following: the parent cannot be located because they are homeless and on the streets, in jail for an extended period of time or located in a rehabilitation facility of some kind. We rely heavily on the information coming from our clients and any other source we can determine to have a connection to the person we are after.

How much is your service?

We are paid on a commission contingency basis. If we can't collect we don't get paid. Our commission ranges from 28% - 35%.

Why is there a variation in your commission rate?

It would be much simpler for us to have one flat rate for all states and all clients. The problem is that some states have placed fee caps and restrictions on what a private enforcement agency can charge. In some situations to remain effective at what we do we must charge a higher commission rate.

How do you get paid?

We receive a commission from each payment collected. If we do not collect our time and efforts cost you nothing. Our fee is explained very clearly in our contract for services. Please make sure you understand it completely. It is a contract and both our client and this agency are expected to follow the terms outlined in the agreement. Go to our U. S. map and click on your state to see if we are able to help you.

Is your fee negotiable?

No. We do our best to provide our service at the lowest cost possible while still being an effective option of enforcement. We realize it is a sacrifice and that is why we consider ourselves a last resort.

Why do I have to pay a fee for this service?

Our commission fee is the only way this agency remains in business. We are not supported by the government or outside investors. The commission fee allows us to effectively work our cases. It is expensive to enforce cases in the private sector in an effective manor. If we were not paid for our work we would not be in business today. It can become very expensive to enforce the difficult cases we receive as there is a large amount of time and resources used to make the collections happen.

We are an alternative to a private attorney when it comes to the cost of service. We do not ask for fees up front only if we are able to recover the payments where as most attorney's require their fees up front without a guarantee of getting the child support in the end. In addition most of us do not have the ability to hire an attorney and pay the expenses involved with that.

Can the absent/non-custodial parent be responsible for the commission fee I have to pay?

No. At this time they cannot be made responsible for our fees, that responsibility falls on you. This is why it is very important that you clearly understand you are making a sacrifice when you use a private child support enforcement agency. That sacrifice may be the only reason you receive the child support that is owed but, it is a sacrifice none the less.

What paperwork do I need to get started?

First, you should go to our U. S. map and click on your state to be sure you qualify. From that point request an application so we can provide you with our forms and instructions. Once you have the application completed we also ask that you try and provide the following information:

We would like a copy of the court docket/case summary if that is available to you. This gives a brief summary of each time your case was in court. In addition we need a copy of your child support order.

We also need a complete payment history. We do our own calculations to be sure we are as accurate as possible with the balance we are collecting for you.

If you are able to provide these records we can move much quicker with the processing of your application, however, if this is not possible we will use our authorization forms to try and obtain the records ourselves.

The contract talks about a contracted dollar amount, what does that mean?

The contract dollar amount is the total arrearages/back support owed as of when we start enforcement on your case. Once we receive your application and court documentation an arrearage calculation is done and then the total amount owed is noted on the contract. If you know the total amount owed you may provide that information on the contract. If you are unsure leave it blank and we will make the notation after the calculation has been completed. A copy of the contract will be mailed to you for your records.

Do I need to close my case with my state/county enforcement office?

No, we never require our clients to close a case with their state/county enforcement office. We believe our agency and their office should be able to work together to help you receive what is owed. There are things such as the tax-offset program, passport denial and felony non-support charges that can only be initiated by their office.

In addition, once our role in the case is completed we close our file but your case should remain open with the state/county office that way if you have future problems or need a modification/adjustment of your support order their office can assist you. It is much easier to keep the case open rather than have it closed and try and reopen it at a later date.

I've sent my application to you, now what?

Once we receive your application and court documentation, the file is reviewed and if necessary a few remaining authorization forms may be sent to you for your signature. In some situations it is impossible for us to provide you with every form we will need. We do our best to process your application as quickly as possible so it can be turned over to a case worker for enforcement.

We do our best to have your application processed and ready for a case worker within 3-4 weeks, in some situations it may move quicker while in others it may take a bit longer. Each state and county handles requests from private enforcement agencies differently and that is why it may vary from case to case.

When do you take a person to court for not paying?

We have the ability to bring a person in front of a judge through an attorney hired by our office. Setting a case for a hearing is usually a last resort for us. Often times a case has been in and out of court numerous times prior to coming to our office and we do not find it necessary or effective to set court hearings. Believe it or not the majority of our collections are made without the need of additional court hearings. If it is necessary and we have determined a court hearing will be required to move forward with a case we will discuss that on a case by case basis with our client.

Will you put a person in jail?

Our main goal to collect the money, putting a person in jail for not paying can be effective but at the same time many of absent/non-custodial parents we deal with could care less if they spent time in jail. Some would even prefer to sit in jail over paying the support. We want to find a way to collect the money, if that means they have to sit in jail for a while to get the point and we have the means to make that happen we will but that is not a priority of this agency.

Will you intercept tax refunds to collect my money?

No. The tax-offset program is a resource available through your state/county child support enforcement office. The government agencies are the most effective way to collect child support via a tax refund. It can be done by a court order but the enforcement of those orders is much more difficult as it does not automatically take the funds from the IRS thus making the most effective avenue to receive an absent/non-custodial parent's tax refunds via your state/county child support office. Go to our U. S. map for information on who enforces the child support orders in your state.

Will you suspend an absent/non-custodial parent's passport or license to collect my money?

No. The license suspension and passport denial tools are services provided through your state/county child support office. These can be done by a court order signed by a judge but the process is lengthy and would require the assistance of an attorney. There are many places along this path where things could go wrong and that is why it is the easiest and most effective to do it through your state/county enforcement office. The method used by the state/county offices is all electronic and input into their system so that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has instant access to that information.

Can you help me raise/modify my child support order?

The focus of this agency is collect the past due support, not modify the support order. If during that effort, modifying the support order can help us enforce the order we may try. We make no representation as to the appropriateness of the order. A modification is based on the current financial status of both parties.

Can you help me collect if the absent/non-custodial parent is in jail?

No. We can try to help upon their release from jail or prison but not while they are incarcerated.

What if I don't know where the absent/non-custodial parent is?

Not a problem! It is part of our service to locate the absent parent; we will ask you for as much information as you can provide and we will take it from there. We have many sources at our disposal to find a person but the best one is good old fashioned hard work.

The absent/non-custodial parent moved to another state, can you still help me?

Yes. The collection on this type of case is the most difficult case any enforcement office deals with. It is also the type of case that requires a more hands on approach that is the specialty of private enforcement agencies. This type of situation is a very common theme among our case load and we have been able to maintain a success rate of collections on approximately 70% of all of our cases.

The absent/non-custodial parent is in another country, can you help me?

This is a very tough situation to be in. Our agency has very limited abilities when dealing with a case where the non-custodial parent does not live within the United States. We do not have the resources available to us to effectively enforce a case like this. Unfortunately the only option available at this time is through the government child support enforcement offices. The best source of information regarding child support and other countries can be found on the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement's website, www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/.

How will I know my case is getting the attention it needs?

This is largely a trust issue and the key thing to keep in mind is that we are only paid if we can collect! It is very important for our case workers to spend as much time as they possibly can on each case so they can find a way to collect the money that is owed to you. The motivation is there to find a way to obtain the payments as quickly as possible. Our cases are worked on a continual basis, constantly set for work or monitoring so that nothing is missed.

If you ever have questions or would like an update you are always welcome to contact our office to speak with our client services department about your case.

Why are you so successful?

The key is persistence, commitment to what we do and our client and refusing to give up. We never expect an easy case in our office. The goal is to never give up even when the custodial parent may think it is hopeless. We take on the work and continue to pursue every angle possible to try and help provide the financial support that is necessary to raise a child.

The absent/non-custodial parent pays a little every now and then, can you still help me?

Yes. In the majority of the cases we work the absent parent has not paid for 2 years. If payments are coming in on your case you need to decide if you could still receive more money after our commission has been deducted. A general rule to help with this decision is, if the parent is paying half of what is ordered chances are good you would receive more with our help.

If the child support is not being paid do I still need to allow visitation?

Yes. In most cases the two issues are separated and treated as such, meaning a child support order has nothing to do with the visitation order. Be smart and don't play this game, it does not work and the one or ones punished are the children. Look at it this way, it is very difficult to spend time with your children as a parent and not want to care for them. On the other hand if you have no relationship with the child it is easier to put your own needs in front of theirs.

How do I know my information will be kept confidential?

We do our best to keep all of your contact information confidential. We do not sell our data to third parties or advertisers. We do not release your information to the absent/non-custodial parent or anyone else, unless required by law, without your consent. The only individuals with access to your information are the employees of Child Support Recovery Service, Inc.

What is a typical case for your office?

A typical case for our office generally has an arrearage balance between $15,000.00 and $30,000.00 owed and no payments received in about 2 years. This does not mean we don't take on cases with a lower balance owed or a shorter time frame since the last payment. Nor does it mean we don't have cases with a balance owed higher than $30,000.00. We have many cases that had never seen a dime prior to our involvement and some that were owed over $100,000.00. The numbers do not matter to our office, it is all unpaid and all owed and should be paid regardless of the amount that is owed.

In addition, the other parent usually jumps jobs frequently or works for cash to avoid any sort of garnishment of their wages. They may no longer live in the state where the order was filed to avoid any sort of body attachment or warrant that was issued for failing to appear in court. They may also change their information or use another person's identity to avoid being found. They may have a vehicle, home or other assets that are listed to another person to avoid a lien.

We are usually hired to work cases that are constant frustrations and all other options have been tried and have been unsuccessful.

Can you help me get my arrearages/back child support all in a lump sum?

It would be nice to find a way to recover the amounts owed all at once and it may be a possibility. But experience has shown that the majority of the time the ability to receive the entire amount at once is not an option. Most commonly our clients receive payments on a regular basis to reduce the balance. If we are able to find an avenue to obtain a lump sum payment we will pursue that as it works best for all parties involved.

What if I have a question that is not addressed here?

If you do not see your question listed feel free to call our office, 1-800-607-5437 or email our office, csrs@childsupportrecovery.com. We will be happy to discuss your situation with you.

(Client Question) When should I check the status of my case and how?

If you just recently mailed in your application you may want to communicate with our office to be sure we have received that information. If there are things we will still need from you, you can expect a letter in the mail shortly upon receiving your application with any additional items we may need.

When the case is turned over to a case worker for enforcement a copy of your contract will be sent to you in the mail. At that time your case is in the system and enforcement services have begun. Generally it is best to give the case worker a few weeks to become familiar with the file and take care of their initial contact and investigations.

We do our best to be available to our clients at all times. We generally do not initiate the contact unless there is a question from the case worker. If the case worker has questions they will provide the file to our client services department and they will contact the client. Outside of that our focus is the absent/non-custodial parent and finding a way to collect the money. We encourage our clients to communicate with us anytime they have questions, concerns, information to provide or simply want an update on the status of their case.

We can be reached Monday through Friday (EST) 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Phone: 1-800-607-5437 or 574-296-1543
Email: csrs@childsupportrecovery.com
Mail: CSRS - P. O. Box 547, Elkhart, IN 46515

(Client Question) How can I check the status of my case?

By calling our office directly; 1-800-607-5437, locally 574-296-1543 or by emailing our client services department: csrs@childsupportrecovery.com.

(Client Question) How long does it take to start receiving my money?

It all depends on what the case worker is able to determine during the initial stages of the case. There is never one set way a case is worked or how it starts to pay. Some cases begin to pay very quickly while others may take a while.

(Client Question) What if I receive a payment from the court or state after you have starting working on my case?

On occasion our request for the change of address or direct deposit is not honored on the first try by the disbursement unit, child support enforcement office or clerk. We need to correct this so that the case worker has the ability to monitor the case and the payments effectively as well as help you with the payment of our fee. Please notify our office as soon as possible so we can ensure proper credit is given, 1-800-607-5437.

(Client Question) How can I receive my payment from your office?

You can receive your child support payments in the form of a paper check or direct deposit to your bank account. All payments are currently issued as a check unless you request the forms to set up direct deposit. Direct deposit is becoming a more popular option as it eliminates lost or stolen checks and allows the funds to be electronically disbursed into your account within a few days from when it is received in our office. If you would like to request direct deposit of your payments please call our office, 1-800-607-5437.

(Client Question) I need to change my address/contact information with your office, what should I do?

Call or email us with your new information. We can be reached by phone toll free, 1-800-607-5437, and local to our area 574-296-1543 or via email: csrs@childsupportrecovery.com

(Client Question) I gave you their social security number, shouldn't that be enough?

Although the social security number of the absent/non-custodial parent is very useful in many situations it does not guarantee anything. Especially if they are working for cash or do not have their assets or bills in their name. While the social security number will help it does not automatically guarantee we will be able to find a person right away or obtain payments quicker.

(Client Question) How do I cancel my contract/close my case?

The contract you signed clearly outlines the guidelines for case closure. If you need another copy provided to you, you may request that from our office at any time.