Child support is money paid by a parent to help pay for a child’s food, housing, clothing, and other needs.
A child support order can be issued by the court when a dissolution or parenting case is filed, or by the Montana Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) upon request from a parent or if a parent is receiving cash welfare benefits for the child.
Although CSED is Montana’s agency for the determination and enforcement of child support, there are offices for child support enforcement in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
The Montana Child Support guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support, taking into account the amount of money considered to be reasonable and necessary to raise a child, the income of the parents, daycare expenses, insurance premiums, payment of uncovered medical expenses, and the amount of time a child spends with each parent.
Parents who are unemployed or under-employed may still be ordered to pay child support. Income can be imputed (i.e., assigned) to a parent based on his or her employment qualifications, work history, and prevailing job opportunities and earning levels in the community. Income will not be imputed to a parent who is disabled or otherwise unable to work.