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How Do I Write a Child Support Letter?

Lainie Petersen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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According to the Office of Child Support Services, over $32 billion was collected in FY 2021 through the Child Support Enforcement Program in the United States alone. When dealing with such matters, clear communication is key. If you're required to pay child support, you'll often liaise with courts and government agencies overseeing your case.

Crafting a child support letter is sometimes necessary, and it's crucial to adhere to specific guidelines. According to the American Bar Association (https://www.americanbar.org/), it's advisable to first inquire if a standardized form exists, streamlining the process. Should a letter be essential, clarity and proper identification are paramount, as is keeping a record of correspondence. This ensures your communications are effective and your case is managed efficiently.

Parents who pay child support may have to communicate with more than one agency or organization about their case. If your children are receiving any kind of government benefits, you may be required to submit a letter in which you state that you are paying child support, as well as pertinent information about the amount of child support you pay and how often you pay it. If there are changes in your obligation and your payments are automatically deducted from your paycheck, you may likewise need to request that your family court send a child support letter on your behalf to your employer's payroll department. In the US, state laws may also require anyone who starts a business or applies for a professional license to complete a letter or form that states that he or she either has no child support obligations or is in compliance with an agreement.

Depending on the laws in your area, it may not be a good idea to write directly to the judge. If you have an issue that you need to discuss with him or her, you may want to first seek legal advice and then petition the court for a hearing. When you do have to write a letter to other officials or agencies, it is crucial that whoever reads your letter is able to identify your case and look up your file. Be sure to include your full name, the name or names of your children, as well as your address, phone number, and case identification number. Always date and sign your letter and make a copy for your records. You may need to refer to it in further communication with child support officials.

What Is a Child Support Letter?

There are a number of reasons why you may need to have a child support letter or why you would receive a letter. A child support letter could be documentation showing the payments required or it could be a demand or reminder of the need to pay child support.

Demand Letters

The purpose of a demand letter is to inform the paying individual that the child support payment is overdue. The court establishes the child support conditions, where most of the time the obligation for payment is with the non-custodial parent. This could be either the mother or father of the child or children, and the court determines the amount to be paid and when it needs to be paid. If the custodial parent hasn’t received the money according to the requirements, a demand letter may be issued.

Several situations could see a child support demand letter issued. These include:

  • Demand for funds for past due commitments
  • Reminders of child support obligations
  • Demands for payments for bills the individual is responsible for
  • Reminders or notifications about payment deadlines or due dates

Evidentiary Letters

In some cases, the paying parent will need to provide proof that child support factors into their financial obligations or that payment has been issued. The parent receiving the funds may also need to present or issue a letter establishing the history of payments received. This could be called a child support confirmation letter and goes to verify the receipt of child support funds. There are times when a bank statement and canceled checks or receipts could serve as evidence of payments, but letters add another layer of proof.

Voluntary Agreements

Though not a letter initially, voluntary child support agreements often carry equal weight in court as the initial rulings by a judge. These agreements happen when both parents agree to certain points regarding the financial responsibilities for a child or children. The things made in these agreements could include:

  • Defining the funds to be spent on college education (public, private, trade or technical institutions)
  • Descriptions of how the payments will occur
  • Defining additional expenses that could arise past the point of 18
  • Establishing the parameters or conditions to be maintained for funds to continue

When a voluntary agreement has been signed by both parents, the court will generally regard this as a binding contract. When a parent does not follow through with the outlined responsibilities, a child support letter may ensure to collect funds or generate a reminder to pay.

Can You Write a Letter To Stop Child Support?

Though it’s the decision of the court to terminate child support orders, the party with the financial obligation can use a letter to request the court to terminate the order. The parent or legal guardian with the order could have a number of reasons for issuing the letter, but it isn’t the letter that will cancel the required payments. The individual receiving the support can also issue a letter to begin the termination of the support order.

Termination of Child Support

Each state provides guidelines for child support termination, most often with the child either graduating from high school or until reaching the age of majority. In some cases, the support could be extended until the age of 21 or longer when the child has disabilities. The age of majority is established by the state and is the age when the individual moves from being considered a minor to a legal adult. A majority of states put this at age 18. Though the court initially establishes the order for support and has established grounds for termination, the court doesn’t always automatically terminate the order.

While the support obligations may be terminated when the child is emancipated, there could be other reasons to request the court to void or amend the support order. Many states allow individuals who are going through hardship to either suspend or reduce their obligations for a specified amount of time. Both parents may also come to an agreement outside of the court system and wish to handle the financial arrangements on their own. This could lead to sending a letter to the court to request a stop to child support requirements.

Letter Requirements

If you wish to stop child support, your letter should be filed with the court and sent to the appropriate involved parties. The court may have a specific form or template to complete to expedite the process, but the general purpose is to inform the court of the involved parties, request the termination and provide the information and reasons that support the request.

FAQ on Child Support Letter

What is a child support letter and when is it necessary?

A child support letter is a document written by one parent to another, or to a court, outlining the terms of child support payments. It is necessary when parents are negotiating child support during a separation or divorce, or when a change in previously agreed-upon terms is needed due to changes in financial circumstances or the needs of the child. The letter should clearly state the amount of support, frequency of payments, and any other relevant details.

How can I ensure my child support letter is legally binding?

To ensure your child support letter is legally binding, it should be drafted with the assistance of a legal professional. The letter must conform to state laws and include all necessary details such as payment amounts, schedules, and responsibilities. Once written, both parties should sign the letter, preferably in the presence of a notary public. Additionally, submitting the agreement to a court for approval can provide legal enforcement.

What information should be included in a child support letter?

A child support letter should include the full names and addresses of both parents, the names and birthdates of the children involved, the agreed-upon amount of child support, payment frequency, and method of payment. It should also outline the responsibilities of each parent, any healthcare or educational expenses, and the duration of the support. Clauses regarding dispute resolution and modification of the agreement are also important to include.

Can a child support letter be modified after it's been agreed upon?

Yes, a child support letter can be modified if both parties agree to the changes or if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, employment status, or the needs of the child. To modify the agreement, a new letter should be drafted reflecting the changes and signed by both parties. For legal enforceability, the revised agreement should be submitted to and approved by a court.

Where can I find templates or examples of child support letters?

Templates or examples of child support letters can be found online through legal aid websites, family law attorney sites, or government resources. It's important to ensure that any template used is up-to-date and complies with the laws of your state. Customizing a template to fit your specific situation is crucial. For accurate and state-specific templates, consulting with a family law attorney or your local family court is recommended.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen , Former Writer
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.

Discussion Comments

By anon322030 — On Feb 25, 2013

Note: Not all fathers are deadbeats. There are deadbeat mothers, as well, and maybe someone should come up with a negative name for all the mothers out there who receive their child support but do not allow those paying fathers to see their children. And the most idiotic solution to non-payment or someone getting in arrears in their child support is jail. Once in jail, the parent (if they have a good job) may lose that job and then where is the money going to come from? Giving someone a record is not going to be a favorable way is ensure employment in the future. Duh!

Everyone is so on the side of condemning the father, but not the mother who doesn't allow the child they created together to have a healthy relationship with both parents. If, as parents, you're all so concerned about getting "financial justice" for your child, you should be equally concerned about providing mental, emotional and spiritual justice for said child. The benefits of two cooperating and constructive parents in a child life is vital to a child's growth.

Girls need their fathers to shape how she views herself and how she expects to be treated by other men for the rest of her life. Mothers who are raising daughters and continually speak negatively about their fathers do their daughters a disservice and shape that daughters' attitudes towards men in general as negative.

And boys need their fathers to help them to manage their emotions and to teach them what it means to be a man. Having never been boys, women often have only a vague notion of how to go about rearing them. Boys are the big losers when families split.

Bottom line: Just because a relationship between two grown people ends, your children's relationships and their need for the love and security of both parents doesn't. Learn to lead by example and truly be an example.

Honestly, it all comes down to money: the lawyers, the court and the child support agencies. As long as parents refuse to come together and do what's best and right for their children and stop making it personal and about their hurt feelings because he or she left me and start taking care of those gifts God gave them to teach, then our children will continue to be broken.

From a divorced mother of three adult children whose father paid child support,visited regularly and provided emotional support to his children who then grew into three college (all with masters) graduates and are self-sufficient. P.S. I know my situation is, or may be thought to be an exception to the rule, but if you work hard, guide firmly and love strong together as equal parents, you can make any exception the rule! God bless all parents. This is not a easy road.

By anon294604 — On Oct 02, 2012

How do you prove that a deadbeat dad is earning income "under the table" and therefore avoiding all child support payments?

I know a single mother of four (all from the same deadbeat) who has a court order for him to pay $500/month (for four children!) and he isn't even paying it! He lives in the house four times the size of his children's tiny rental row home, drives a truck with a logo for the carpet cleaning business his mother owns, has told people he is working and has been seen purchasing items, out with a girlfriend and yet when they try to garnish his wages, his employer (a.k.a. his mother) states that he is no longer an employee. Meanwhile, the mother of these four children is working a $10/hour job and getting minimal assistance from the state and is about to be homeless because of several months of no support payments, let alone not helping at all with child care or taking them to/from school, sports, activities, doctors, dentist, etc.

By anon277698 — On Jul 01, 2012

I feel like these deadbeat fathers need to pay up or just get locked up. I think it is sad that the system can just let an absent father get thousands of dollars behind. It needs to get better for these innocent babies. Agreed?

By ceilingcat — On Apr 27, 2012

I think it's definitely worthwhile to see if there's a form for whatever it is you're trying to write a child support letter to a judge for. I've found that for most things where the court is involved, there's always going to be a form for it.

You can usually either go to the court directly and someone will help you find the form. Or, you can check online if you happen to have a computer. These days, pretty much everything is online. A lot of times, you can even type out your responses to the form, then print. This way everything is clear and legible.

By Azuza — On Apr 27, 2012

@sunnySkys - I agree, I think it's important to get a lawyer, at least for the initial set-up process. I had a friend who was making a child support arrangement with her ex. They were on good terms, and they both agreed on everything. One of them messed up on some of the paperwork, and the whole process got derailed. They should have gotten a lawyer.

I think things get a little bit easier once the arrangement is set up though. If you just need to do something like child support modification, it shouldn't be too difficult to do that on your own.

By sunnySkys — On Apr 26, 2012

I've never had to personally deal with child support, because I don't have any kids. But I have a few friends that have had to do things like a child support agreement letter, so I've seen some of the things they've went through.

So I have a few tips. If you're going to be dealing with any kind of court child support proceedings, on either side, just get a lawyer. Seriously. If you forget to fill out one tiny thing, or fill out a form wrong, it will delay you case or whatever you're trying to do for weeks, maybe months. A lawyer can help you avoid all the hassle.

Lainie Petersen

Lainie Petersen

Former Writer

Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
Learn more
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