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Family Support Section
  • Do you need to change the amount of child support you receive or pay
  • Is your child’s other parent refusing to pay child support?
  • Do you have a child born outside of marriage for whom you need child support?

If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, you should call the Division of Child Support (DCS) at 1-800-794-9402 and ask for help. DCS provides free assistance with establishing, modifying and collecting child support. It will also help establish paternity for children who are born outside of marriage. DCS can often provide these services even if one of the parents lives out-of-state or the location of one parent is unknown. For more information on how the Division of Child Support can help you, please visit their web site DCS Home Page. If there is a special form you need, please click on this link for DCS forms.

If your child support case requires the help of an attorney in San Juan County, DCS will refer the case to the San Juan County Prosecutor’s Family Support Section. The family support section assists DSHS in protecting children in families where abuse and neglect can be proven.

Call us at 378-4101 with questions about how DCS can help you.

Paternity

When DCS refers a paternity case to the Family Support Section, we are responsible for establishing parentage (i.e., who the father is), obtaining a judgment for back child support, establishing a current monthly child support amount, and facilitating the entry of a residential schedule or parenting plan for the child.

We usually resolve the issue of paternity through DNA testing. Our office arranges the taking of DNA samples from the mother, alleged father, and child by swabbing the inside of their mouths. These samples are then sent to a lab for testing. The results establish conclusively whether or not a man is the biological father of a child.

After parentage is established, our office gathers financial and child custody/visitation information from both the mother and father. Based on this information, we propose current and back child support obligations using the state child support guidelines and a residential schedule for the child. Our child support proposal will consider health insurance provisions and day care costs for the child.

In most cases, we are able to reach agreement with the mother and father on most major issues in the case. The judge decides the unresolved issues at the final hearing.

Modification of Child Support

Either parent may request that DCS review the child support order in their case. DCS will refer the case to our office for modification if the case should be filed in San Juan County Superior Court and:

  1. At least 35 months have passed since your order was entered and since DCS last reviewed your order for modification;
  2. DCS know where both parties live; and
  3. The proposed change in child support is at least 25% and $100 per month above or below the current support amount. The change must equal at least $2,400 over the life of the child support order.

DCS will also refer to our office cases which do not meet the above criteria if the proposed child support change, if paid, provides enough income to keep a family off of public assistance.

When our office receives a modification case from DCS, we gather financial information from both parents. Based on this information, we propose a new current monthly child support obligation using the state child support guidelines. Our child support proposal will consider health insurance provisions and day care costs for the child.

In most cases, we are able to reach agreement with the mother and father on most major issues in the case. The judge at the final hearing decides the unresolved issues.

Contempt (Judicial Enforcement)

DCS has broad powers to enforce child support orders. It can garnish wages, attach bank accounts, intercept federal income tax refunds, file liens against real and personal property, seize vehicles and other property, and suspend various state-issued licenses (including driver’s, professional, and business licenses) in its efforts to collect child support.

Sometimes DCS is unsuccessful in collecting child support in a particular case. This can happen when the parent who owes child support is self-employed, works for cash, or conceals his or her assets. In cases where DCS is unable to collect current child support, the parent who is not being paid his/her child support can request that DCS refer the case to our office for a judicial enforcement action.

Once the case is referred to our office, we will obtain an order from a Superior Court judge requiring the parent who owes the child support to appear at a court hearing to explain him/herself. Frequently, the judge will find the parent in contempt of court for nonpayment of child support and establish a number of requirements that the parent must meet to remove the contempt finding. Our office then schedules a series of court hearings to review the progress the parent is making in paying his/her child support.

Appearance Cases

Parties in dissolution and private child support modification cases in San Juan County must notify our office if public assistance is or has been paid for children in the case. After receiving notice, our office may participate in the case to represent the interests of the state in preserving any child support debt owed to the state and ensuring adequate child support for the children. Our office does not represent either parent.

Cases the Family Support Section Does Not Handle

DCS and our Family Support Section do not provide assistance with dissolutions of marriage, enforcement of property settlements, resolution of custody disputes, enforcement of residential schedules or parenting plans, and collection of spousal support when no child support is owed.