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The four types of child support cases

Child support programs in Michigan and around the country were established to ensure that children receive the care they need and do not become burdens on the state. Title IV of the 1975 Social Security Act allows the federal government to send states incentive payments to help them enforce child support orders and collect delinquent payments. All types of child support cases now include the designation 'IV."

Child support arrangements that are established privately between custodial and noncustodial parents, which often occurs after a divorce, are referred to as non-IV cases because state and federal agencies are not involved. However, these arrangements may be reclassified to what are known as IV-D child support cases when payments are not received by custodial parents in a timely manner. In such instances, the cases will be referred to the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This is the designation used when custodial parents are being assisted by the authorities in some way such as to collect delinquent payments or establish paternity.

When custodial parents are receiving some form of state public assistance, the IV-A designation is used. These cases are automatically referred to the OCSE to help bear the expenses of supporting the family and increase the likelihood that child support payments will be collected. In situations where children are being cared for by individuals other than one of their parents, such as relatives or foster parents, the IV-E designation is used. These cases are also referred to the OCSE to help ensure that noncustodial parents meet their financial obligations.

Children can be damaged emotionally when their parents become embroiled in legal disputes over their care. However, experienced family law attorneys may seek to protect them by resolving these issues amicably whenever possible. Attorneys could recommend taking swift action and contacting the authorities when noncustodial parents abdicate their responsibilities.

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