Receiving child support in the District of Columbia (DC) begins by opening a case with DC’s Child Support Services Division (CSSD), and ultimately results with money being paid by the non-custodial parent for the care of the child(ren). To reach the point of receiving money for the care of a child, a case must first be established and then properly managed.
Establishing a Case
In the District of Columbia, there are two methods by which a child support case can be established.
1. Custodial party opens a case
Custodial parties residing in DC may open a child support case. This may be done regardless of where the non-custodial parent lives. If the non-custodial parent does not live in DC, CSSD will take the steps necessary to obtain an order for support from him or her, to include making it an interstate case. To establish a child support case, please complete a “Basic Services Packet” and mail or bring it to the DC child support office along with the required items.
2. Referred from TANF office
When a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or Medicaid case is opened, the TANF office will automatically send case information to the child support office to open a child support case, whether or not paternity has been established. The custodial party is required to assign rights when his or her case is referred from the TANF office.
The only time that the CSSD will not try to get support from the non-custodial parent when the custodial party is on TANF is when there is "good cause" for the custodial party not to help CSSD pursue child support. "Good cause" exists if the custodial party fears the non-custodial parent would hurt the custodial party or the child(ren). To claim "good cause" the custodial party must come to the CSSD office and apply for "good cause" exemption by showing proof that the non-custodial parent is a threat.
After a case has been established, the process moves to the next phase as CSSD works with the custodial party to manage the case, and follow the steps needed to obtain payments from the non-custodial parent.