Child support broken into four different categories

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, October 24, 2019

This story is a continuation of the Child Support series. The third story will run in Saturday’s edition of the Daily News

During a sit-down interview with the Daily News, Bell County Attorney Neil Ward explains the child support system further — stating the system is broken down into different categories.

“Child support is really broken down into two big categories,” Ward explained. “One: people who are married and are separated or divorced, you can get an order for support even if you’re not divorced.”

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Ward explains that it’s what is called a “Temporary Child Support Order” and in some cases the order can last for years.

“We have some people here that don’t get divorced for years,” he said. “Number two: he or she disappears and they don’t know where to find them. You can get a child support order for the noncustodial, which is the person that is not taking care of the child without getting a divorce.”

He explains that the second way the cases arise is that the second party is expected to pay the ordered amount.

“We have an order but if they are not divorced, then we can go to the court and get a temporary custody order saying the parent is not in the home anymore,” Ward explained. “It says this is what he or she should be paying. The third way is a pretty big part of our work load.”

Ward explains that many cases that are presented are children that are had out of wedlock.

“A lot of people don’t bother to get married,” he said. “So, they come to us and say ‘so-and-so’ is the father and we will file a paternity case.”

Ward said they then ask for a DNA test.

“It is great because years ago, we didn’t have DNA tests,” he said. “We had paternity trials where we had to have a jury decide if he’s the daddy or not.”

He said that there were blood tests that would give a probability of 90%.

“Now, we have DNA and it pretty much nails them. Once the DNA is established, the judge will set a child support order,” Ward explained. “That’s our three big categories that we get cases out of.”

He said the fourth one is a minor one, but it is still one they have to take on.

“It’s a minor one, but it is one that might help some people,” he said. “It is what we call an interstate enforcement,”

The interstate enforcement is a treaty between states where orders are obeyed in each state.

“If there is an order from Kentucky saying that I’m supposed to be paying $300 a month in the divorce and that person moves to Michigan and never pays…then an order can be sent to Michigan.”

The Michigan Child Support Program will then enforce it, so the parent doesn’t have to travel.

“Because if the children are conceived in Kentucky, they got divorced in Kentucky, or they got married in Kentucky, whatever it is, there are ties in Kentucky,” Ward said.

He explained that there are orders sent to California, Michigan and Florida due to the interstate treaty.