When you get a phone call or text message from your child support caseworker, what’s the first thing you want to know?
The answer depends on where you live.
The Washington Post reported that one-third of children are on the phone with their child support office every day and one-quarter are texting with caseworkers about their finances.
The majority of caseworked parents are paying child support from their own pockets, even if it’s not their income.
“It’s a little confusing when you first get on the line, especially if you’re on a small-scale, rural, low-income family,” said Lori O’Neill, an employment law attorney and co-director of the Child Support Institute at Georgetown University.
O’Donnell said it’s important to make sure the child support is being paid on time.
“The sooner the payments are made, the more they are going to be able to afford and get on with their lives,” she said.
But not everyone gets their child’s support on time, and that can have a devastating impact on a child’s life.
“If the child is living in poverty, and you don’t have access to money, it can really have a negative impact on that child,” O’Connell said.
A child’s ability to access support can also depend on where they live.
O`Donnell said she often hears from mothers and fathers who have children in states where child support cannot be made because the state requires them to work.
“When they get that call, that text, the phone is ringing,” O`Neill said.
“And they’re crying.
And they’re saying, ‘Mommy, what am I supposed to do?'”
If you or someone you know is in trouble with child support, contact Child Support America.
A list of resources is available at childsupport.org.