One common question we hear in our practice is the following: how do I make my recurring child support payments? And, can I make my child support payments in cash? In this post, we will answer the title question and spend a bit of time discussing payment options for noncustodial parents.
All Parents Have a Financial Obligation
The State of Colorado holds that both parents are obliged to contribute financially to support their children. However, in Colorado’s family law system, only the noncustodial parent makes regular payments to the other parent (custodial) for child support. The custodial parent doesn’t make any transfers, as the law presumes that the custodial parent uses his or her resources to take care of the child’s needs. Hence, in Colorado, child support is technically something which falls on the noncustodial parent, even though custodial parents are still involved in the process (as recipients).
Basics of Paying Support: DCSS & FSR
When it comes to making payments, noncustodial parents should be familiar with two entities: the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS, or just CSS), and the Family Support Registry (FSR). CSS is in charge of administrating the child support system in Colorado, including enforcement of child support. The FSR is an operation within Colorado’s CSS, and it’s involved directly with facilitating payments for noncustodial parents. The Family Support Registry facilitates payments by providing individualized account numbers which are used to identify payors; the FSR also keeps records on the amount of payments, payment history, and so forth.
Payment Options: E-Check, Mail, Phone and Wire
Fortunately, noncustodial parents can make their payments in multiple ways. To answer the title question, the short answer is “yes,” payments can be made with cash, but usually payors select another payment method, such as e-check. When it comes to the various payments options available, perhaps the best way to break them down is to divide them between free options and fee-based options. Free options include the electronic check, or e-check, which involves a simple transfer from your bank; this option usually takes 2 business days to process. There is also the pay by mail option, which involves sending a check or money order to the FSR; as with e-check, this is entirely free. Noncustodial parents can also pay over the phone, which involves giving information to an automated system after receiving a PIN code.
The fee-based options include things such as paying with a credit card, using a third-party wire service such as MoneyGram, or a PayNearMe device at certain convenience stores. All these options will charge fees to process the payment. If you use a credit card, for instance, you will typically incur a service fee based on the amount of the payment (i.e. 2% or 3% of whatever the payment amount may be). In all cases, noncustodial parents will need to have the details of their case to proceed with payment (FSR account number, name, SSN, etc.).