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Navigating Child Support in Nebraska: Application Modification and Termination

Applying for Child Support in Nebraska

Raising a child is a huge responsibility, and it comes with many expenses. In cases where a child’s parents are separated, divorced, or unmarried, it can be challenging for one parent to bear the entire financial burden.

This is where child support comes in. If you’re a parent in Nebraska who needs financial assistance in caring for your child, you can apply for child support through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

DHHS Services

The DHHS offers several services related to child support cases, including paternity establishment, court orders, modifying orders, and enforcing orders. Paternity establishment is essential in cases where the father of the child is not listed on the birth certificate.

This process involves genetic testing to confirm the biological father of the child. Once paternity is established, the court can issue a child support order.

The order specifies the amount of support that the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have primary custody of the child) must pay to the custodial parent (the parent who has primary custody of the child). The order also outlines the duration and frequency of payments.

If there are changes in circumstances that affect the order, either parent can request a modification. If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, DHHS can enforce the court order.

Enforcing an order can involve withholding income from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck, intercepting their tax refund, or placing liens on their property.

Application Process

To apply for child support in Nebraska, you’ll need to complete an application, which you can find on the DHHS website. The application requires information such as the child’s name, social security number, and birth certificate, as well as the names and social security numbers of both parents.

You’ll also need to provide information about any existing court orders related to child support or custody. If there is no existing court order, DHHS will help you obtain one.

If you have a court order, you’ll need to provide a copy of it along with your application. If you’re applying for the first time, the process takes about 20 minutes.

Once your application is submitted, DHHS will conduct an investigation to establish paternity and determine the amount of child support owed. If you’re the custodial parent and you need help covering the cost of health insurance for your child, DHHS can also assist you in obtaining a Children’s Health Insurance Policy (CHIP).

Nebraska Child Support Calculation

The amount of child support you receive in Nebraska is determined by a formula known as the income share model. Under this model, both parents’ incomes are taken into account when calculating child support, and the obligation is distributed between them based on their relative income levels.

Changes in Guidelines

The state of Nebraska periodically reviews and updates its child support guidelines to ensure that they remain fair and reasonable. One significant change to the guidelines in recent years involves factoring in a parent’s earning capacity instead of just their actual income.

This helps prevent situations where a parent intentionally reduces their income to avoid paying child support. Other changes include considering the combined income of both parents when calculating child support, addressing the cost of uninsured medical expenses, and providing for cash medical support.

Calculation Process

Calculating child support in Nebraska involves determining each parent’s monthly income and then using a set of guidelines to determine each parent’s parental obligation. The guidelines take into account the number of children involved, the monthly income of each parent, and the cost of childcare and health insurance.

Once the parental obligation of each parent is calculated, the non-custodial parent is required to pay a percentage of their income equal to their parental obligation. If the parents have joint custody, the calculation is more complex, taking into account the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

In conclusion, applying for child support in Nebraska can be a simple process that involves completing an application and providing basic information about yourself and your child. The state has established guidelines that help determine the amount of child support owed, and DHHS is available to help you through every step of the process.

By making use of these services, parents can ensure that their children are adequately cared for, even in challenging circumstances.

Modifying Child Support in Nebraska

Child support orders are not set in stone. They can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances that affects the amount of child support owed.

If you’re a parent in Nebraska who needs to change the terms of your child support order, there are procedures in place to help you.

Requesting a Review

Every three years, the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agency is required to review all child support orders to ensure that the amount being paid is still fair and reasonable. If you believe that the amount you’re paying or receiving is unfair, you can request a review at any time.

Grounds for Modification

To modify a child support order outside of the three-year review cycle, you must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances. Some examples of a significant change include a change in income, a change in health care costs, or enrollment in the Medical Assistance Program.

Additionally, if the current child support order was outside of the Nebraska child support guidelines, you may ask for a review. This is because in calculating support, the court usually refers to the guidelines and other factors that are specific to your family situation.

It is important to keep in mind that a modification cannot be sought for trivial reasons, such as a temporary decrease in pay or a one-time bonus. If you voluntarily quit your job or intentionally reduce your income, a judge will likely deny your request for lower support payments.

Important Considerations

When requesting a modification, you need to provide evidence of the change in circumstance. If you lost your job, you must provide evidence of your job loss, such as a termination letter.

If you have taken a pay cut or voluntarily reduced your income, a judge may look at your earning potential instead of your present income, which may lead to denial of your request. It is important to know that even if a modification is granted, it can only take effect from the day that you filed your request for modification.

If you fail to pay the original amount of child support while your request is pending, you could accrue arrears, which could come back to haunt you later.

Non-Payment of Child Support in Nebraska

Child support is not optional. If a parent is ordered to pay child support and fails to do so, there are consequences.

The CSE has several enforcement tools at their disposal to ensure that child support is paid.

CSE Enforcement Tools

The most common CSE enforcement tool is income withholding. When a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, the CSE can have their employer withhold the amount owed directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck.

Other enforcement tools include reporting the non-payment to credit bureaus to affect credit scores, suspension of licenses, travel restrictions, liens against property, and garnishment of bank accounts. Additionally, interest may accrue on unpaid child support payments.

Contempt Charges

Failure to comply with a child support court order is a serious matter and could result in a contempt charge. This means that the non-custodial parent is disobeying a court order to pay child support.

Contempt charges can lead to a f ine, jail time, or both. If the non-custodial parent consistently disobeys the court order, they can face more severe penalties and may lose their rights to custody or visitation.

Criminal Non-Support

In some cases, refusal to pay child support may be a felony. While criminal non-support charges in Nebraska are rare, when charged with criminal non-support, the non-custodial parent could face time behind bars.

Criminal non-support charges may also be filed if the non-custodial parent refuses to pay hospital costs relating to an uninsured child.

Statute of Limitations

Back child support in Nebraska can be enforced by CSE, but it must be done within ten years of the last order being issued. The agency can monitor the payment of back child support indefinitely, but if the debt has not been paid for over ten years, it might become unenforceable.

Final Thoughts

Modifying child support can be a complicated process, but there are mechanisms in place to ensure that it is fair and equitable. Similarly, there are tools that can be used to ensure that child support payments are made.

Ultimately, the best thing parents can do is to actively work towards meeting their child support obligations. This is not just a legal obligation.

It is also a moral responsibility to provide for their child’s well-being and to make sure that they are equipped to lead a successful life.

Duration and Termination of Child Support in Nebraska

Child support is designed to ensure that children have the financial support they need to thrive, but it does not last forever. Here’s what you need to know about the duration and termination of child support in Nebraska.

Age of

Emancipation

The age of emancipation in Nebraska is 19 years old. This means that a non-custodial parent is required to pay child support until their child turns 19, as long as the child is still attending high school.

If the child is permanently disabled, child support may continue indefinitely.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

In situations where it is in the best interest of the child, a parent may choose to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. This might occur when a parent suffers from a severe mental illness that prevents them from providing adequate care for the child, or when the parent believes that someone else can provide better care.

Parents may also choose to give up their parental rights if they believe that it is in the child’s best interest and if the other parent is willing to assume full custody and relieve them of their child support obligation.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Involuntary termination of parental rights is a legal process that can occur when a parent’s behavior indicates that they are not fit to take care of the child. Examples of such behavior include murder, felony, sexual assault, injury to a child, debauchery, drug use, alcoholism, and abandonment.

If a non-custodial parent’s rights are terminated involuntarily, they no longer have any legal right to contact or see their child. Moreover, they are no longer required to pay child support.

Emancipation

Emancipation refers to a process by which a child becomes free from the control of their parents and takes on adult privileges and responsibilities. In some cases, a child may choose to become emancipated before they reach the age of 19.

Some factors that may lead to emancipation include the child moving out of their parents’ home at the age of 16, getting married, or joining the military. If a child is emancipated, the parent is no longer required to pay child support.

However, parents should make sure that the emancipation process is legal and finalized because a hasty or informal decision could lead to confusion or legal trouble later.

Final Thoughts

Child support is meant to provide children with the financial support they need to lead successful lives. Although the duration and termination of child support may vary, parents should always prioritize their child’s best interests and continuously communicate with the other parent, as well as relevant institutions to ensure that their child is provided for.

If there are any questions or doubts about child support issues, parents should consult a knowledgeable attorney or family court worker to ensure that they understand their rights and obligations and do what is necessary for their child’s wellbeing. Child support is an essential aspect of ensuring the well-being of children when parents are separated or divorced.

In Nebraska, the process of applying for child support through DHHS services involves establishing paternity and obtaining a court order. The calculation of child support is based on the income share formula, taking into account factors such as parental incomes and the children’s healthcare needs.

Modifying child support is possible when there is a significant change in circumstances, and non-payment of child support can have serious consequences, including enforcement tools like income withholding and contempt charges. Understanding the duration and termination of child support is crucial, with child support generally continuing until the child reaches the age of 19.

However, voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights and emancipation can alter this obligation. The importance of child support cannot be overstated, as it supports a child’s overall well-being, education, and opportunities.

It is crucial for parents to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and to navigate the child support system in a way that prioritizes the best interests of their child.

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