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Think Twice Before You Use Private Child Support Services

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Private Child Support Services:

Many independently run child support services boast impressive success rates and client testimonials. However, it's important for parents to use caution before considering the use of an independent collection service. In addition, it's important to note that these private repossession services are separate from each state's Office of Child Support Enforcement, which collaborate with the federal OCSE under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

The Cost of Using Private Child Support Services:

The most that your local Office of Child Support Enforcement can charge you is a $25 processing fee to open your case. Independent child support collection agencies can set their own fees. Most of the time, these companies will only charge you in the event that they're able to successfully help you receive unpaid child support. However, you've probably been waiting for that money for a long time, and the original intent of the money was to support your children. Is giving a portion of that money to a collection agency in your best interests?

Private Child Support Services vs. State-Run Services:

In reality, a repossession service can't really do more for you than your local Office of Child Support Enforcement. The OCSE works with various agencies on a federal level, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Department of Defense (DOD), to locate parents, establish paternity, and enforce child support orders. The nature of many child support cases necessitates the collaboration of these agencies in order to ensure the successful collection of unpaid child support.

Questions to Ask Before Using Private Child Collection Services:

  • How does the agency decide which cases to take? - The agency's success rate may look impressive, but those numbers don't include the cases they decided not to take.

  • Has the Better Business Bureau processed any complaints against the agency? - Make sure that you research the company's reputation through the Better Business Bureau.

  • What percentage of the total child support collected does the agency keep? - Private child support services stay in business by keeping a portion of every dollar they collect.
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