Bureau for Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) - Information
Learn more about the various services offered by the WV BCSE to assist parents in handling Child Support issues.
Services of the Bureau
The BCSE services are available to everyone in West Virginia who receives support for a child or who pays support for a child. At this time, there is no charge for BCSE services. However, this may change in the near future. Contact your local county BCSE staff to learn if there are any fees for the BCSE services.
The BCSE offers many different services:
- Establishing Paternity
- Establishing Support
- Locating Parents
- Securing Support from Parents who live in another State
- Enforcing the Payment of Support (collection methods)
- Income Withholding
- Income Tax Refund Intercepts
- Civil and Criminal Contempt of Court
- Other Enforcement Measures
- Reviewing and Modifying Support Orders
To learn more, call or visit your local BCSE office.
Who the Bureau Helps
The BCSE helps obligees locate obligors, establish paternity, establish and enforce child support and medical support orders. For more information about BCSE's services, call 1-800-249-3778 or visit your local BCSE office. The BCSE will collect and record support payments from obligors who are court ordered to pay support. The BCSE will then send the payment to the obligee.
The BCSE is required, by law, to help you get your child support if you receive a public assistance check (TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid) to care for a child under the age of 18, or your child has been placed in Foster Care, or you have a medical card for the Medicaid Program.
If you receive public assistance, you will be required to cooperate with the BCSE to establish or enforce a support order. However, one exception does exist. If the obligor has harmed you or your child in the past and if you believe that the possibility exists that the obligor will hurt you again if the BCSE attempts to secure support, then you may claim "good cause". When applying for public assistance, the WVDHHR worker will explain "good cause" to you. If the DHHR worker determines that "good cause" exists, you will receive your public assistance benefits without having to cooperate with the BCSE.
All new or modified support orders provide for immediate income withholding. All cases are forwarded by the court to the BCSE. The obligee may choose, at this time, to either apply for all BCSE services or apply for income withholding only services. If income withholding only is chosen, the BCSE will only withhold support from an employer. If the obligee chooses to receive all of the BCSE's services, the BCSE will collect & distribute all support paid through the income withholding & other collection methods. The tax intercept process is only available to full-service obligee's.
Establishing Support Orders
The BCSE assists individuals to collect support payments - both what is due to you now (current support) and what has been due to you (arrearages). The BCSE will ask the court to establish a child support order if none exists. An order sets a monthly amount of money owed by a parent (obligor) for the support of a child. The amount of support is determined by a formula called the child support guidelines. The BCSE will also try to establish medical support, such as health insurance.
The BCSE can request the court-ordered child support be paid past the age of 18 (but not past 21) if the child stays in high school or attends vocational school (not college).
Establishing the Legal Father of the Child
If a child is born to parents who are not married, the father must be legally identified before child support can be obtained. This process is call establishing paternity. The BCSE will assist the mother and/or child in establishing paternity and child support. The BCSE will also help a man who believes he may be the father establish paternity if a child has no legal father.
Both parents may sign a document stating they are the child's mother and father to legally establish paternity. This legal document, called a Declaration of Paternity Affidavit, may be picked up at your local county DHHR office, BCSE office or the Office of Vital Statistics. These Affidavits may also be obtained and completed at any of the birthing hospitals or birthing centers in West Virginia at the time of the child's birth. However, court action will still be necessary to establish an order for child support.
Paternity may also be established by a court order. In a paternity action, a man alleged to be the father of a child may request that the court order blood testing. The mother, child and alleged father will all need to take this test. Even if the man lives in another state, a paternity action may be started in West Virginia. If a man is determined to be the legal father of a child, then he may have to:
- pay child support
- help pay any medical and hospital expenses related to the birth of the child.
Locating Parents that Owe Support
When a parent who should be paying child support cannot be found, the BCSE will try to find that person. The BCSE has the right to search for obligors by using records such as:
- driver's licenses,
- vehicle registrations,
- tax records,
- employment security records (which show whether a person is on any employer's payroll in WV), and
- records that show if a person is receiving any public benefits, such as an unemployment check or Worker's Compensation.
If the obligor cannot be located in WV, the BCSE will search all other appropriate states.
Federal Parent Locate Services
If a parent owing support cannot be found, the BCSE will work with the Federal government to find the obligor through the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), the Veteran's Administration (VA), the Social Security Administration, New Hire Registry, Federal Case Registry, and the Department of Defense.
This service is also used when there is a dispute regarding the child's custody or to locate a parent suspected of parental kidnapping. This service must be requested by the court or authorized, by a United States or a West Virginia attorney licensed to investigate, enforce, or prosecute the wrongful taking of a child.
Securing Support From Parents Living in Another State
If a parent who owes child support lives in another state, the BCSE will work with the other state to establish and enforce a support order. Once an out-of-state employer is located, the BCSE will contact the employer to have the support payments automatically withheld from the employee's pay. The employer will then send the support payment to the BCSE. Once received, the BCSE will forward the support payments to the obligee in West Virginia.
This information was taken from the WV BCSE web site. Click here to go to the web site of the Department of Health & Human Resources, then click on the tab for "Child Support."
Keywords: child support back child support arrearages