Common Questions About Child Support
FAQs About Child Support
- How is a child support order established?
Child support can be established by court order or through the Child Support Services Division.
Usually, when parents divorce or there is a custody case, the court will enter a child support order. The parent can then pay child support directly to the other parent, or through CSSD. Child support orders issued by the Court will be determined by Rule 90.3. The Court System provides automated forms that will help determine your child support amount based on your income and custody arrangment.
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. CSSD also provides an online Child Support Calculator to help both parents determine what their child support obligations will be based on their earnings.
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.
- I am a victim of domestic violence and do not want the other parent to find me. Can I keep them from accessing my information?
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 to do so is available online.
- How do I change the current child support order?
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.
- How do I fix an old child support order based on incorrect income information?
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 much much smaller arrearage and a more realistic monthly support obligation.
CSSD provides detailed instructions and forms for this process, but you will be required to provide detailed financial information and documention for the period you are contesting.
- How do I get in touch with my CSSD caseworker?
It is not unusual to have several CSSD caseworkers over the years, and rarely do you get notice of the changes. A current listing of all CSSD employees with their fax numbers and e-mail addresses is available online.
You can also access your account information online, as long as you have your Member ID (not the same as your social security number). This Member ID number should be on the mailings you receive from CSSD.
- My child is over 18, why do I still have to pay child support?
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.
- I'm being charged arrears for child support that I paid directly to the other parent, what do I do?
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.