Common Questions About Child Support

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services

Answers to common child support questions

Child support can be established by court order or through the Child Support Services Division (CSSD).
When parents divorce or there is a custody case, the court is required to enter a child support order. The parent can then pay child support directly to the other parent, or through CSSD. The ammount of child support to be paid ois determined by Civil Rule 90.3. The Court System provides forms and explanations that will help determine your child support amount is likely to be and how to report your income to the judge..
If there is no existing court order or active divorce or custody case, CSSD can establish child support through an administrative order. If CSSD establishes the child support order it is paid through CSSD. Forms and instructions on how to request a child support order through CSSD are available here.

Child support is calculated based on the earnings of the parents. There is a specific formula and percentage that is set by Court Rule 90.3. Parents can agree for a child support order to be more than what the rule requires, but typically cannot reduce the amount unless there are unusual circumstances justifying the reduction.

CSSD offers a helpful child support estimation tool which wasn't working at the time of this writing, but should be back up soon. If you see the login screen when you click the link above, click “bypass” to use the calculator as a guest.

Once child support is established, it is important that the obligated parent's income information be kept current. Child support cannot be retroactively modified (meaning that you can't go back in time and change it). Therefore, it is important to let the court or CSSD know right away if the obligated parent's income changes or there is a change in custody.

If your child support order was established by a court order, you must file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the same court than originally established the support order. When you file your motion, you should include all information related to why the support order should be increased or decreased. This should include current income and expense information, as well as any information about changes in the custody and visitation. 

If your child support was established by the Child Support Services Division, you must contact CSSD for modification of the order.

If, and only if, your child support order was established through default by the Child Support Service Division, you may be able to retroactively modify your support order. The process for this is called a Motion to Vacate the Support Order. What actually happens is that the old support order is set aside, and a new child support order is established using your actual income information for all the years since the original order. You will still end up owing child support, but usually the result is a smaller, and a more realistic, monthly amount.

CSSD provides detailed instructions and forms for this process, but you will be required to provide detailed financial information and documentation for the period you are contesting. Link: CSSD Default Review Packet

Yes. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can ask that CSSD keep your employment, contact, and any other identifying information confidential while they are establishing, modifying, or enforcing your child support order. The form request help from CSSD is available online at this link..

It is not unusual to have several CSSD caseworkers over the years, and CSSD might not give you notice that your caseworker has changed. CSSD's general contact information can be found on it's website and a CSSD offers a page to look up your specific caseworker online..

You can also access your account information online, as long as you have your Member ID. Your Member ID should be printed on the mailings you receive from CSSD. It is not your social security number.

Alaska Law states that a parent must pay child support until a child is 19 years old if they are going to high school, and are still living with (and being supported by) the other parent. In this case, the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school.

If you've been providing support directly to the other parent, you need to provide CSSD or the Court with proof of all such payments. They will credit your overall child support balance with these amounts. 

Information on payment options can be found on the State of Alaska website, along with the form for electronic fund transfers.

Last Review and Update: Jul 24, 2023
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