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What is the role of the RI Office of Child Support Services?

Sometimes, a Rhode Island parent needs to establish paternity to begin receiving child support payments. Other times, Rhode Island parents need assistance in establishing or enforcing an order for child support. In both cases, these parents may turn to the Office of Child Support Services for help. One may wonder, what services does the Office of Child Support Services provide?

While no two cases are alike, in some circumstances, the Office of Child Support Services may be able to collect child support payments and disburse them to the custodial parent. Payments will first go towards the amount that is due in the month the payment is received, and any excess will go to any child support delinquencies that may exist. The Office of Child Support Services monitors any amounts of support that go unpaid, and will utilize various means to attempt to recover those amounts.

There may be times when a parent is unsure whether his or her current order for child support is consistent with the existing state guidelines. Based on this, the parent may wish to modify the amount paid or received. In these situations, the Office of Child Support Services will conduct a review to determine whether changes should be made to an existing child support order. If there has been a substantial change in the financial circumstances of either parent, the Office of Child Support Services can move the court for a support modification. However, the Office of Child Support Services cannot make the actual modification itself -- only a court may do that.

The Office of Child Support Services also has the ability to enforce an existing order, if it is not being followed. This will be accomplished in an automated manner. The parent receiving child support need not ask the Office of Child Support Services to enforce an order, in order for enforcement actions to begin.

Rhode Island parents should not have to struggle to receive the child support payments they are due. Delinquent payments do not just harm the custodial parent -- they harm the child most of all. In some cases, child support modification is necessary. In other cases, child support enforcement is necessary. The Office of Child Support Services aims to help parents in these endeavors, along with collecting and disbursing monthly payments.

Source:, "Services Available," accessed on July 19, 2015

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