Learn about child support services available from DOR

DOR provides a wide variety of child support services. Find out about the services we provide.

Eligibility

Either parent or a child's guardian may apply for services to:

  • Enforce and collect an existing child support order
  • Establish paternity for a child under 18 years of age
  • Get a child support order for a child under 18 years of age
  • Modify a child support order for a child under 18 years of age
  • Enforce past-due support owed under a court order for child support

If you apply for services, both you and the other parent become our customers.

Depending on your circumstances and the amount of information you provide, DOR may be able to help you:

  • Locate the other parent
  • Establish paternity if your child was born out of wedlock (you were not married to the other parent when the child was born)
  • Arrange for paternity testing for both parents and the child
  • Establish a child support order, including an order for medical insurance coverage
  • Establish and enforce a medical insurance order
  • Collect child support payments and send them to the custodial parent
  • Review your child support order for potential modification
  • Enforce a child support order

However, we can’t properly manage your case if you don't keep us up-to-date. Call us immediately if:

  • You change your address
  • You change your home or cell phone number
  • You change employers
  • You change your Social Security number
  • You change your driver's license number
  • Your employer's name, address, or phone number changes
  • The court orders a change in your child's custody arrangements
  • You receive any new court orders relating to child support.

Additional Resources for Eligibility

Services available

We can:

  • Determine what services are available and best suited to establish paternity and establish, enforce and modify a support order.
  • Collect support payments and apply them first to satisfy current support (what’s due that month). If payments received within a month are more than the total due for that month, then they are applied to past-due support (except for the collections made by federal tax refund intercept, which must be applied to past-due support only).
  • Send child support to every parent or guardian who has a child support order. (When the family receives assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), we send the money to DTA.) When one parent is responsible for children who live in different households, support collections may not be enough to pay each child support order in full. In that case, we allocate the payments so that each household receives its share of the collection. We keep track of all unpaid support and use our enforcement services to collect those amounts.
  • Upon request of either parent, determine if it might be appropriate to ask the court to modify the amount of the child support order.
  • Use enforcement remedies, such as bank levies, tax refund intercepts and license suspension to collect overdue support if the case meets our criteria for the enforcement action.

Services we do not provide

We cannot:

  • Get involved in parenting time, issues about where the child lives, or property settlement issues
  • Provide child support enforcement services directly to you if you are a child seeking support from your parents. Your guardian or custodian, however, may seek assistance from us on your behalf.
  • Pursue criminal enforcement except in specific and rare circumstances when the District Attorney involved decides to prosecute.
  • Provide legal representation to you or the other parent. A Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement attorney is not assigned to every case and, when an attorney is assigned, the attorney's client is the agency, not you or the other parent.
  • Hire private investigators to determine whether a parent may be failing to report all income
  • Modify the provisions of an existing court order. Only a court can modify the terms.
  • Establish or modify orders for spousal support or alimony. However, we will enforce and collect an alimony order as long as we are enforcing and collecting an accompanying child support order.
  • Enforce orders that are not for a standard amount of money, (e.g., orders that call for the payment of a percentage of income).

Disclosing personal information

We have strict rules against releasing personal information. If 1 parent requests information about the other, we can’t provide it.

However, we can’t guarantee that personal information will be completely confidential. For example, DOR shares information with other state agencies such as the Department of Transitional Assistance, MassHealth, and the courts. We also provide information to other entities (including employers, health insurance companies, and other child support agencies) to enforce child and medical support orders.

We must provide addresses on court documents. Even if a judge orders an address to be kept off court documents, when we file court actions to establish paternity or to establish, enforce or modify child and medical support orders, the county and state where each parent lives will appear on the documents.

If you are concerned that receiving child support services could result in a risk to you or your child's safety, please call us at (800) 332-2733 or (617) 660-1234. If you are completing an application, make sure you fill out the section that asks about any safety issues.

Fees

There may be fees for our services based on federal laws or what it costs us to provide them. You will be informed ahead of time if any fees are charged. Cost of litigation (court activity) or case specific services (for example, deposition or service of court papers) may also be passed on to you.

A case involving a noncustodial parent who lives in another state may also involve fees for services provided by that state. In certain situations, we may be able to bill a noncustodial parent for the cost of services.

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