This article will explain how child support orders are enforced in the State of Nebraska. If you have any questions about child support enforcement after you read this article, you should contact a family law attorney for advice.
In Nebraska, child support is intended to pay for the basic care (food, shelter, clothing, education) and medical support (insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs) of children. For purposes of this article, the parent who receives child support is known as the "receiving parent," while the parent who has to pay is called "the paying parent."
The parent who has physical custody (meaning, the parent who cares for the children more frequently) spends a greater percentage of time with the children. That parent pays for more of the children's needs by virtue of the fact that they're together more often. So the other parent (also known as the non-custodial parent), who spends less time with the children, has to make regularly scheduled child support payments in order to ensure that each parent is paying a fair share of the children's expenses.
Whether you're divorcing or you've never been married, when your relationship ends you need to get an official child support order. In Nebraska, child support orders are determined according to each parent's net income and a mathematical formula known as the child support guidelines. For a detailed discussion of how child support is calculated please see Child Support in Nebraska by Teresa Wall-Cyb.
The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services is a state agency serving the citizens of Nebraska with respect to behavioral health, children and family services, Medicaid and long-term care, public health, developmental disabilities, and veterans' homes. Within the Department is a separate unit called Child Support Enforcement (CSE). The purpose of CSE is to enforce state and federal laws about child support.
CSE performs critical child support functions. It uses an administrative (non-judicial) process to:
And, when paying parents aren't meeting their child support obligations, CSE can use various enforcement and collection measures (see below).
However, family court judges can also issue orders to help enforce and collect child support. In some cases, parents may be able to obtain a quicker result by hiring an attorney to go to court and ask a judge to enforce child support. In some circumstances, this can be more effective than waiting for CSE to act.
CSE has a number of powerful legal and financial tools it can use to extract money from parents with past-due child support accounts (known as arrearages). The tools include, but are not limited to:
Nebraska Judicial Branch: Online Legal Self-Help Center
Nebraska State Bar Association (legal aid for qualifying individuals)
Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services: Child Support Enforcement Program