Iowa Child Support - Frequently Asked Questions
  
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 Frequently Asked
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      Review and Adjustment
      Administrative Modification
      Cost-of-Living Alteration
      Guidelines
      Suspension

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 REVIEW AND ADJUSTMENT/ADMINISTRATIVE MODIFICATION

 Q1)     Why is the Child Support Recovery Unit reviewing my support order?

             We start a Review and Adjustment (Review) or Administrative Modification
             (Admod) when a parent or another stateís child support agency asks us to
             change the child support order. Child Support Recovery Unit may start a
             Review or Admod to add medical support, or to add a child to an order, or
             to comply with federal regulations.

 Q2)     How long will it take?

             It can take several months to complete a Review or Admod. The length of time
             varies depending upon how hard it is to locate the other parent and verify
             income or assets. If we locate the other parent in another state, it may take
             longer.

 Q3)     What if I want to withdraw my request for the Review or Admod?

             Only the parent who asked for the Review or Admod can ask to withdraw it.
             To withdraw, send a written request to the office working on the Review or
             Admod. We will tell the other parent you asked to withdraw. If the other parent
             wants us to continue, we will. If the other parent does not respond or asks us to
             end the process, we will end it.

 Q4)     How will I know what the next step is?

             As we move through the process we will send you information explaining the
             next step. You must complete and return some of the information within a
             certain number of days. Be sure to read this mail carefully and contact us if you
             have questions.

 Q5)     When will I start receiving the new child support amount?

             The date the new obligation amount begins is the next regular payment due
             date after the adjusted order is filed with the court.

             Example: A divorce decree said support was due on the 15th of each month. The
             adjusted order was filed on October 1. The new support obligation begins on
             October 15.

             In Admod, if the support amount was previously set at zero or the court did not
             order a cash amount of support and stated a reason, the new amount begins
             20 days after the order is prepared.

 Q6)     Does the Review or Admod change the amount of the past due support
             that I owe?

             No. The Review or Admod does not change the amount of your past due
             support.

 Q7)     How can I get an increase in support if the other parent is now making
             more money?

             Review and Adjustment
             You may ask for a Review if it has been more than 24 months since your order
             was entered, the child support amount was changed, or the amount was
             reviewed but not changed, whichever happened last. The increase in income
             must have lasted for at least three months and be expected to last for at
             least three more months.

             Administrative Modification
             You may ask for an Admod if there has been a change of 50% or more in a
             parentís net income. It must be less than 24 months since your order
             was entered, the child support amount was changed, or the amount was
             reviewed but not changed, whichever happened last. The increase in income
             must have lasted for at least three months and be expected to last for at least
             three more months.

             When you ask for an Admod you must be able to provide proof of the
             income that was used to determine the old child support amount as well as
             the new income of the parent with the 50% increase in net income.

             Review and Adjustment and Administrative Modification
             Remember that when you ask us to review the current support obligation, the
             amount of support may go up, go down, or stay the same.

 Q8)     Can you help lower my child support if I lose my job and havenít found
             another one?

             Depending on the amount of your current child support obligation and your
             financial circumstances, we may be able to change your child support amount.
             The decrease in your income must not be because you voluntarily quit your job,
             must have already lasted for three months, and must be expected to last an
             additional three months.

 Q9)     Can my child support be lowered if my health insurance premiums have
             increased?

             An increase in your health insurance premiums may or may not have an effect on
             your support amount. We use the Iowa Supreme Court Guidelines to set the
             child support amount. The guidelines use the net monthly incomes of both
             parents and the number of children for whom support is ordered to set the
             child support amount.

 Q10)   Can you help lower my child support if my support payments are set
             too high and I canít afford to live?

             Review and Adjustment
             You may ask for a Review if it has been more than 24 months since your order
             was entered, the child support amount was changed, or the amount was
             reviewed but not changed, whichever happened last. The decrease in your
             income must have lasted for at least three months and be expected to last for
             at least three more months.

             Administrative Modification
             You may ask for an Admod if there has been a change of 50% or more in your
             net income. It must be less than 24 months since your order was entered, the
             child support amount was changed, or the amount was reviewed but not
             changed, whichever happened last. The decrease in your income must have
             lasted for at least three months and be expected to last for at least three
             more months.

             When you ask for an Admod you must be able to provide proof of the
             income that was used to determine the old child support amount as well as
             your new income.

             Review and Adjustment and Administrative Modification
             Remember that when you ask us to review the current support obligation, the
             amount of support may go up, go down, or stay the same.

 Q11)   If a court hearing is held, do I have to attend?

             It is important for both parents to be at the hearing so you can tell the judge
             about your finances as well as any other circumstances that may relate to
             setting your child support amount, such as extraordinary medical expenses. If
             you do not appear, the court may enter an order based on the information it
             has.

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 ADMINISTRATIVE MODIFICATION/COST-OF-LIVING ALTERATION

 Q1)     In the administrative modification (Admod) process, how am I supposed
             to get proof of the other parentís income?

             You can get proof from the other parent, which could include copies of tax
             returns or payroll stubs. If the child support amount was originally set based
             on zero income and the other party is now working, you can provide us with the
             name and address of the employer. If you are unable to get proof, you may
             need to contact an attorney to have the order modified through a private action.

 Q2)     What is a COLA?

             A cost-of-living alteration (COLA) means a change in a child support amount
             using the consumer price index (CPI) as published in the Federal Register by
             the federal Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 Q3)     What is the difference between a Cost-of-living Alteration (COLA) and
             a Review or Admod?

             A COLA is different from Review or Admod in that both parties have to agree in
             writing to the COLA and the guidelines are not used to calculate the new child
             support amount. The support amount is based on the change in the cost of
             living. The new child support amount is equal to the amount the order would
             have been if a cost of living adjustment had been done every year.

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 GUIDELINES

 Q1)     How do you calculate the child support amount?

             We use the financial information provided by the parents or other financial
             information available to calculate the child support amount using the Iowa
             Supreme Court Guidelines.

 Q2)     How do you count overtime or bonuses when calculating my gross income?

             If overtime pay has been consistent and regular, we use it in our calculation.
             If the overtime pay is not consistent or regular, you must give us a letter from
             your employer saying what the overtime was for and it is not expected to
             continue.

             We divide the amount of any bonus by 12 to get a monthly average, which helps
             make the calculation more accurate.

 Q3)     What should I put on the financial statement where it asks for my marital
             status and exemptions?

  • Marital Status: List your marital status. The Iowa Child Support Guidelines specify how taxes are calculated for child support purposes. The guidelines require use of the following filing statuses:
    • Unmarried noncustodial parents use single status.
    • Unmarried custodial parents use head of household status.
    • Married custodial or noncustodial parents use married filing separately status.

  • Number of Exemptions: List the appropriate number of tax exemptions. The Iowa Child Support Guidelines allow one exemption for the parent. If you are the parent receiving support, you are allowed an additional exemption for each of your children (must have same legal parents), unless you have proof that the parent paying support should receive an exemption for the children.

 Q4)     How do you determine actual income when the other parent gets paid in cash,
             hides income, or lies about income?

             We use independent sources to find income for parents when determining the
             amount of support due. If we canít find verifying information, we can use wage
             rate tables available from Iowa Workforce Development (if we know the parentís
             occupation) or the average income figure for the parent who receives or pays
             support on our cases. In some cases we may have to ask for a court hearing to
             get a parent to provide income information.

 Q5)     Why do you need the income of the parent who receives support when
             determining the child support amount?

             The Iowa Supreme Court Guidelines use the income of both parents when
             calculating the amount of support. Both parents have a duty to provide
             support for their children in proportion to their incomes.

 Q6)     Why do you need my current spouseís income if itís not used in the
             guidelines?

             We use this information so we have a complete financial picture of the income
             and expenses you list on the financial statement. We do not use the current
             spouseís income when determining the child support obligation.

 Q7)     On the financial statement, why do you ask for all my expenses when you
             donít use them in the guideline calculation?

             Having a list of your expenses helps us understand your complete financial
             picture. However, the Iowa Supreme Court already took living expenses into
             account when setting the child support guidelines. The court wanted to make
             sure the needs of the children are met before voluntary savings or payment of
             bills.

 Q8)     Why isnít the parent paying support entitled to a child care deduction?

             The Iowa Supreme Court guidelines only allow the child care deduction for
             custodial parents.

 Q9)   What is the difference between a Qualified Additional Dependent Deduction
             (QADD) and a prior support order deduction?

             A QADD is a deduction that is given to a parent when either of the following
             applies:

  • The parent is legally responsible for an additional child and there is not a support order established for the child, OR
  • The parent pays child support for an additional child and the support order for that child was filed after the order being reviewed.
             A prior support order deduction is a deduction that is given to a parent who
             pays child support for another child and the support order for that child was
             filed before the order being reviewed. We average the amount of child support
             paid on that case over the last 12 months and use that amount as the
             deduction. This deduction cannot exceed the amount of the ongoing current
             obligation. If there have been no payments over the last 12 months, the amount
             of the deduction is $0. If the parent has a prior support order but has not made
             payments the parent cannot use the QADD deduction instead.

 Q10)   Why canít I get both the QADD and the prior support order deduction for the
             same child?

             The Iowa Supreme Court Guidelines say a parent cannot receive both deductions
             for the same child. If a parent is legally responsible for an additional child,
             the parent receives only one deduction: either a QADD or the prior support order
             deduction.

 Q11)   Can I get a deduction for the amount I am paying for the child on the order
             being reviewed?

             No. Payments made on the order currently under review are not considered prior
             support payments. The prior support order deduction is for payments on an order
             that was filed before the order currently under review.

 Q12)   Does the amount that I am paying on the arrears for a prior order qualify for
             a prior support order deduction?

             No. The prior court order deduction only applies to the amount paid toward
             ongoing support, not past-due support.

 Q13)   What proof do I need to give you to receive a deduction?

             The following is a list of deductions that require proof along with ways to verify
             the expense:

  • Mandatory Pension Ė You must provide either a letter from your employer or a copy of your check stub. If the deduction is listed on your check stub, we must be able to tell it is required. Most 401K plans are not required.
  • Union Dues Ė You must provide either a letter from your employer or union, a receipt of dues paid, or a copy of your check stub.
  • Prior Court-Ordered Child Support or Alimony Ė If you do not send the payments through the Collection Services Center, you must provide a copy of the court order and proof of payments.
  • Actual Medical Support Paid in Another Order for Other Children Ė If you do not send the payments through the Collection Services Center, you must provide a copy of the court order and proof of payments.
  • Actual Child Care Expense Due to Employment Ė This deduction is ONLY for the custodial parent. The parent must provide a signed statement or receipt from the child care provider that shows the cost of the child care. A copy of the parentís federal or state income tax return, and a copy of the Child and Dependent Care Expenses tax form must be provided if a tax return was filed. The child care credit amount is allowed for the parent receiving support during his or her employment minus the applicable federal income tax credit.
  • Qualified Additional Dependent Deduction Ė If you are the mother of an additional child, you must demonstrate your legal obligation to the child. This may include sending in a copy of the childís birth certificate, a copy of a paternity affidavit, or a copy of a court order.

    If you are the father of an additional child, you must prove your legal obligation to the child by providing written verification of paternity. This could be a copy of a paternity affidavit, a copy of your marriage certificate or marriage license and birth certificate of the child, a copy of an open statement in court regarding paternity, or a copy of a court or administrative order establishing paternity.

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 SUSPENSION

 Q1)     What do I do if the other party wonít sign the request form?

             We can help suspend support only if the parents both agree to end the order.
             You may have to talk with a private attorney for help in ending support.

 Q2)     What is my court order number? Is it the same as my CSC number?

             No. Your court order number is the number the court assigned to your legal
             action. It can be up to 20 characters long and can contain both letters and
             numbers. It appears in the caption or heading at the top of your court order.
             Example: CD CD 3456.

             Your CSC number is the number we assign to your case. It can be up to seven
             characters long, can only contain numbers, and usually appears at the top of
             documents that we send you. Example: 9898989

 Q3)     If we are reconciled (living together with the children), do we say on the
             form that the child lives with the mother or with both?

             In Part 4 of the Request to Suspend Support form say that the child lives with
             both parents.

 Q4)     When does the suspension start?

             A suspension of the support is effective the date the order is filed with the
             court. In other words, on that date, ongoing current support is no longer owed.
             However, you must continue to pay any past-due support.

 Q5)     How long will it take to end the order?

             It depends upon when we receive the completed request and affidavits. Once we
             receive the completed request and affidavits, the notice of decision is generated
             and sent to you. If the notice of decision says we accepted the request to end
             support it means we sent the order to the clerk of court for filing.

 Q6)     When my order is suspended, will my employer still withhold support from
             my income?

             Yes, if you still owe past-due support. When the suspension order is filed, we
             amend the income withholding order and ask the employer to collect past-due
             support at 20% of the amount of the most recent current child support
             obligation.

 Q7)     When will you notify my employer to change my income withholding
             order (IWO)?

             Immediately after the suspension order and the amended income withholding
             order are filed with the clerk of court, we send the amended income withholding
             notice to your employer telling the employer to change the amount withheld from
             your wages.

 Q8)     What if we separate again or the children who moved to live with the other
             parent move back to live with me? Can I start getting support again?

             Yes, depending on when this happens, support can be reinstated or we can
             get a new order. A suspension becomes permanent six months after the order
             is filed. If the situation changes within that period, you may ask us to
             reinstate the order so the support obligation begins again. The person ordered
             to pay support will not have to pay for the months in between the time the
             suspension order was filed and the reinstatement order is filed.

             To start the reinstatement process, write a letter to the Child Support Recovery
             Unit handling the suspension. Tell us that you want support to begin again.
             Include the following:

  • Your name,
  • Your CSC number,
  • A statement that you want the child support to begin again,
  • The reason you are asking for the reinstatement,
  • The county where the support order was filed,
  • The court order number, and
  • The names of both parents and the children for whom
    support needs to be reinstated.

             Sign the letter, date it, and send or take it to your local Child Support Recovery
             Unit.

             Another way to ask for a reinstatement is to go to the Reinstatement Request
             form, fill it out, and send or take it to your local Child Support Recovery Unit.

             The most important thing we need is your request in writing.

             After we receive your request, we approve or deny it and send a notice of our
             decision. If we approve it, we file an application and notice with the court.
             If the other parent challenges the reinstatement, a hearing is held and the court
             decides whether to have support begin again. If the other parent does not
             challenge, we submit an order to reinstate support to a judge for approval.

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