The Mission of the Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program is to assure that all children receive financial and medical support from each parent. This is accomplished by locating each parent, establishing paternity and support obligations, and enforcing those obligations.
Otero County Courthouse- Annex
La Junta, CO 81050
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
Family Support Registry
Family Support Registry
PO Box 2171
Denver, CO 80201-2171
As you're probably aware, the nonpayment of child support in the United States is an all too common problem. To address the high rate of noncompliance, child support agencies have been given special tools to collect child support not granted by law to other kinds of creditors.
It is the responsibility of the parties to keep CSE updated with current address information so they can be notified about any enforcement action.
Colorado CSE uses the following enforcement remedies:
- Income Assignments Against Employment Wages
- New Hire Reporting
- Unemployment Compensation Benefits
- Worker's Compensation Benefits
- Driver's License Suspension
- Professional Occupational License Suspension
- Recreational License Suspension
- Passport Denial
- Federal Tax Offset
- Colorado State Revenue Tax Offset
- State Vendor Offset
- Federal Administrative Payment Offset
- Lottery Winnings Intercept
- Financial Institution Data Match
- Gambling Payment Intercept
- Unclaimed Property Offset
If selected, the IV-D agency regularly reports child support orders to the major U.S. credit bureaus. Unpaid child support amounts could mar an obligor's credit report and make obtaining credit very difficult, while a consistently paid child support order could help build good credit.
- Rule 69's
- Federal Prosecution
Enforcement - Contempt of Court
If a non-custodial parent is ordered to make child support payments and willfully fails or refuses to do so, they may be held in contempt of court which could result in a fine, jail time, or both, depending on the judge or magistrates ruling. Contempt is a remedy of last resort. §14-14-110 C.R.S. Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 107
Enforcement - Credit Bureau Reporting
If selected, the IV-D agency regularly reports child support orders to the major U.S. credit bureaus. Unpaid child support amounts could mar an obligor's credit report and make obtaining credit very difficult, while a consistently paid child support order could help build good credit. §26-13-126 C.R.S.
Enforcement - Deductions for Health Insurance
The National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) involves a notice similar to that used for an income assignment that is sent to an employer directing the employer to enroll the children in the employer's health insurance plan and to deduct the premium payments from the obligor's pay, if it is deemed obtainable at a reasonable cost. §14-5-125, 14-10-115 (2) (b), §14-10-115(13.5) and §14-14-112 C.R.S.
Enforcement - Financial Institution Data Match
Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) is an automated program designed to locate assets owned by delinquent obligors which may be held at banks, credit unions, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, certificate of deposits, etc. The program issues a Notice of Lien & Levy and the assets are seized and then applied to past due child support. §14-10-122 & §26-13-128 C.R.S.
If the support enforcement unit believes an obligor has an account at a financial institution, they may compel the bank to turn over the funds in the account to cover the amount of any back child support due. Such a garnishment may be levied on joint bank accounts, too. A Garnishment is similar to FIDM but does take prior court approval and a Verified Entry of Judgment must be in place. §13-54.5-101 C.R.S. Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 103
An income assignment is a notice sent to the employer directing the employer to withhold an amount of child support directly from the obligor's pay. The employer then forwards the money to the Family Support Registry. §14-14-111.5 C.R.S.
If you are paying child support through an income assignment and you change jobs, be sure to notify your Child Support Specialist within 10 days by calling 719-383-3168.
The child support enforcement unit can place liens on real estate as well as on personal property like cars and boats if large amounts of unpaid child support accumulate. §13-52-102 C.R.S.
Enforcement - Lottery Intercepts and Gambling
Lottery Winnings Offset
Child Support division intercepts cash prizes, non-cash prize merchandise or a combination of merchandise and cash lottery winnings from parties who owe past due child support. Section 26-13-118, C.R.S. and Section 26-13-106, C.R.S.
Gambling Payment Intercepts
Colorado law allows the Child Support division to intercept Colorado race track and casino gambling cash winnings from parties owing past due child support and/or costs. Section 19-35-24, C.R.S. and Section 26-13-26, C.R.S.
Enforcement - Passport Denial
If a non-custodial parent owes past due child support in the amount of $2,500 or more, the U.S. Secretary of State will refuse to issue a passport and may revoke, restrict or limit a passport which was previously issued. 42 U.S.C 652 (K)
Driver's License Suspension
If full payment is not received, Colorado Child Support Enforcement (CSE) has the authority to suspend a driver's license. If suspended, an individual must get a Notice of Compliance from CSE and meet Department of Motor Vehicle requirements to reinstate the privilege to drive. 42 U.S.C 666(a)(16) and Section 26-13-123, C.R.S.
Professional and Occupational License Suspension
CSE is authorized to suspend professional and occupational licenses of individuals who are past due to their child support obligations. If suspended, they must obtain a Notice of Compliance from CSE and meet the requirements of their particular licensing board at Department of Regulatory Agencies to regain a professional/occupational license. 42 U.S.C. 666(16) and Section 26-13-126, C.R.S.
Recreational License Suspension
CSE is authorized to suspend or deny hunting and fishing licenses of individuals who are past due in their child support payments. Individuals who are seeking to hunt or fish must meet the requirements of CSE and Division of Wildlife to regain the privilege to hunt and fish. 42 U.S.C. 666(7)(D)(13) and Section 26-13-126, C.R.S.
A non-custodial parent owing child support may see their state and federal tax refunds intercepted by the child support enforcement unit to cover the amount of the past due child support. §26-13-108 C.R.S. 42 U.S.C 664 & 26 U.S.C. 6402
Child Support Enforcement (CSE) payments to vendors who owe child support debt or arrearages. A state vendor is an individual who has entered into a contract with the State of Colorado to provide goods or services for a fee. Vendor Offset can also collect money for other debts owed; however, child support arrearage takes priority over other state agency collections. Section 24-30-202.4, C.R.S.
Enforcement - Verified Entry of Judgment
It is well established in Colorado that a child support payment that is not paid when due becomes a judgment. A Verified Entry of Judgment finalizes the child support arrearages into a judgment for a specific time frame and amount.
A judgment is valid for twenty (20) years in the State of Colorado and may be renewed for additional twenty (20) years period upon application to the Court. A judgment gives way to placing liens on personal property. §14-10-122 C.R.S.
Establishing a Child Support Order
- You do not have to be divorced or even married to establish a child support order.
- Once paternity is established, a child support order may be entered pursuant to the juvenile code §19-6-101.
- All child support orders entered in Colorado are entered pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines.
Establishment - Child Support Guidelines
To determine the amount of support a parent is required to pay, the Child Support Unit or the Court will follow the Colorado Child Support Guidelines. Both parties must provide verification of their income and provide their most recent income tax returns.
- Child support orders entered in the State of Colorado are entered pursuant to the Child support Guidelines C.R.S. §14-10-115.
For additional information regarding Child Support Guidelines: https://childsupport.state.co.us/siteuser/do/vfs/Frag?file=/cm:calcPayments.jsp
Establishing Health Insurance Coverage
- The Colorado courts and Child Support Enforcement program also require that health insurance coverage be provided for children when setting up the child support order. C.R.S. §14-5-125, §14-10-115, §14-10-115(2)(b), §14-10-115(13.5), §14-14-112
The Child Support Unit can help establish an Order to pay child support in one of two ways.
Administrative Process Action (APA) - This is an expedited legal procedure done in our office. This Order, based on the appropriate child support guidelines, has the same effect as one established in Court. It is legally binding on the parties concerned.
Orders obtained by Court Action – A child support hearing is held when a party disagrees with a proposed action by the County or directly petitions the Court for a hearing. A judge or magistrate decides whether to issue a support order.
- Arrearage: The amount of child support that is over a month past due.
- Custodial Party (CP): The person who has the children primarily in his/her care. Sometimes referred to as the Recipient Applicant, Custodial Parent, Obligee, or Payee.
- Emancipation: The legal age when current child support usually ends.
- Family Support Registry (FSR): The institution that receives and sends out child support for Child Support Enforcement and sometimes for private parties.
- Income Assignment (IA): The document sent to the Obligor’s employer to have the employer withhold and send in child support. Also known as an Order to Withhold (OTW), or Income Withholding Order (IWO).
- Non-Custodial Party (NCP): The parent that does not have the children primarily in his/her care. Sometimes referred to as the Non-custodial Parent, Obligor, or Payor.
- Non-Disclosure of Information (NDI): A petition to the Court to keep personal contact information from being included in court actions where there is reason to believe it could endanger the applicant or the children.
- Notary: An official of the State of Colorado that witnesses your signature on documents after seeing proper identification. If you have documents for your application or review with us that require this, we can notarize them for you at no charge provided you bring them with proper identification.
- Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) Referral: A process your Child Support Technician can begin for an Obligor and Obligee that have both requested the ODR’s help in working out parenting issues and responsibilities after separation.
- Paternity Test: A laboratory test of tissue samples that accurately determines who the biological father of a child is. Also known as a DNA test or genetic test.
- Review and Adjustment: The process that allows us to enter current financial information for the Obligor and Obligee into the Court Guidelines to recalculate the child support monthly obligation; also known as a modification.
- Termination of Parental Rights: A court process that terminates the rights of a parent to his/her child, and which in some cases may also terminate future support.
- Unfunded Disbursement (UD): A child support payment sent to the Obligee where the source of the funds did not pay the state (like a stopped or bounced check from the Obligor). In this situation, the Obligor still owes the child support, and the amount sent to the Obligee by the State is collected out of future child support checks from the Obligor.
- Unreimbursed Public Assistance (UPA): Public funds that have been issued for a child’s care, such as TANF or Colorado Works, but have not been paid back by the Obligor.
For more definitions go to the State Child Support website
Employer cooperation is essential in securing financial stability for our children. Employers who comply with child support laws are helping to ensure that the children of our community receive the financial and medical support that they need and deserve. Employer responsibilities as they relate to child support include verifying employment information, reporting newly hired employees and rehires, income withholding, using the Family Support Registry, and complying with medical support notices. For additional information on an employer’s responsibilities, please click on the following links.
Every state has its own IV-D agencies that will help Colorado establish paternity, support orders and/or enforce a support a child support order across state lines. Colorado also has the ability to send an income assignment directly to employers in other states.
The primary legal tool for interstate cases is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA gives states the power to reach beyond their borders for the establishment and enforcement of support orders. It also allows states to enforce a support order issued in another state. If legal action is needed to establish or enforce an order in another state, UIFSA makes the process easier, as state child support agencies must help each other. However, the county CSE Unit must rely on the other state’s laws, regulations, procedures and personnel to take action on the case. The other state may assess fees or withhold fees from the support collected.
When Otero County CSE becomes involved in your child support case, payments on child support need to be made through the Family Support Registry. You should contact us before beginning or resuming child support payments to be sure you are paying the correct amount.
Family Support Registry (FSR) Account Number
Your case will be assigned a unique FSR account number to process any payments. You can contact us at 719-383-3100, or the Family Support Registry at 1-800-374-6558 to get your account number.
- Make all payments payable to the "Family Support Registry"
- Do not send cash
- Include your FSR account number
Mail payments to:
Family Support Registry
PO Box 2171
Denver, CO 80201-2171
Generally, this is the easiest way to pay. You can contact us so we can set this up with your employer.
Electronic Payment Options
Support payments can be made by authorizing a regularly scheduled withdrawal from a bank account. This is a recurring automatic withdrawal. It saves time and can be very convenient. You can contact the Family Support Registry at 1-800-374-6558 to set this up. The FSR also need to be contacted to stop the withdrawal. To get the forms online, click here.
Secondly, you can send an authorization to the FSR to allow you to make payments by phone from your bank account. Get the form here or call Family Support Registry at 1-800-374-6558.
Paying by credit card or Western Union
Support payments can be made by using Western Union. You can pay cash in person at a Western Union Agent location. You can pay using certain credit cards by phone calling 1-800-634-3422, press 2, from a verifiable phone number (public payphones excluded). Additionally, you can pay by certain credit cards online using the Quick Collect service at www.westernunion.com. Western Union will need the following information:
Pay to: Colorado FSR
Code City: ColoradoFSR
Account Information: Your Family Support Registry (FSR) number
There are three options for obtaining a Child Support Enforcement application.
Online – Application for Child Support
Telephone – Call Otero County CSEU at (719) 383-3100 to request an application.
In person – Pick up an application at the Child Support Office located at 215 Raton, La Junta, CO 81050. Check in with the Receptionist and ask to see a Child Support Technician.
Submit your application, including the $20.00 non-refundable application fee, either by mail or in person.
- If you are currently applying or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the $20.00 application fee is not required.
- There are no other exceptions to the child support application processing fee. Though a separate application is required for each non-custodial parent parent, the $20 fee covers all applications from the same applicant received at the same time.
Otero County Child Support Enforcement Unit
La Junta, CO 81050
The Child Support Enforcement unit will also need copies of the following documents, if they apply to your case:
- Photo ID of applicant
- Social Security cards for all children
- Photo of other parent
- Order for Paternity, Child Support Order, Divorce Decree, Separation Agreement, and/or Parenting Plan
- Verification of your income if there is no Child Support Order
- Birth Certificates
- Divorce Petition (if you are in the process of obtaining a divorce)
Child Support Enforcement (CSE) will close a case:
When an obligation ends and the non-custodial parent has paid all support and arrears, or
When making all possible reasonable attempts to establish or enforce an order with no success, or
When trying but not being able to find the non-custodial parent or the custodial party, or
When a written closure notice is provided by the person who applied for services
CSE may send a letter to you 60 days before closing the case. Even if a case is closed, it does not always mean that the non-custodial parent's legal duty to pay support will end. If new information about a case is received, the case may be reopened.
Establishing paternity is the process of determining the legal father of a child. When parents are married, paternity is automatically established in most cases. If parents are unmarried, paternity establishment is not automatic and both parents, as soon as possible for the benefit of the parent and the child, should start the process. Even though they aren’t married, the father and mother of the child may be living together. This does not mean the child’s paternity has been legally established. Unmarried parents who sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form help their child (ren) gain the same rights and privileges of a child born within a marriage. Some of those rights include: financial support from both parents, access to important family medical records, access to the non-custodial parent’s medical benefits, and the emotional benefit of knowing who both parents are.
- Paternity can be legally established by the court:
- a Judge or other official may enter an Order at Court which establishes paternity, or
- the Child Support Division office may establish paternity without having to go to Court, or
- a statement of paternity may also be signed, either at the office when the child is born, or
- our office can assist you in completing this form and mailing to vital statistics.
Some important reasons to establish paternity:
- Identity - Children have the right to know their mother and father
Money- The father may be required to pay child support if paternity has been legally established
- Medical- It may be possible to obtain health insurance coverage for the child through the father's employer
- Survivor's Benefits- If the father is disabled or dies, his child could qualify for a number of benefits: Social Security, inheritance, veteran's benefits and life insurance
Watch this video for more information on the importance of paternity:
If paternity is not already legally determined, genetic testing may be ordered.
Child Support Enforcement only does paternity testing where we are establishing a new order and paternity is not yet established, or when court ordered. If you only need paternity test information, you can call the Paternity Hotline at 303-830-3572. If someone named as the father is wishing to contest paternity, this is a judicial action and is not within our jurisdiction.
For more information about paternity, please see the state child support website on paternity.
Contact Otero County Child Support Services at (719) 383-3168 for assistance
Either party may ask for a review of their child support order. Your reason for a review must relate to a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. The order may not be changed unless:
- The dollar amount of the order changes by 10% or more, or
- Medical support is not ordered or has changed.
Reasons to request a review may include the following:
- One of the children has emancipated;
- You or the other parent have had a change in income;
- There has been a change in the cost of raising a child (i.e. healthcare costs or daycare expenses);
- The number of overnight visits the children have with the other parent has changed;
- It has been three (3) years since your last review.
The request must be in writing, signed, and submitted to the county Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Unit that is handling your case.
The request should give a reason for the change. If the reason arises from a change in the requester circumstances, include supporting information.
A review may result in the ordered amount going up, going down, or staying the same. The review uses the current income of both parties and expenses for the children. The Colorado Child Support Guidelines are used.
Reviewing and changing an order may take up to 6 months.