Get help raising your child with assistance from the MDHS Division of Child Support Enforcement.
Establishing a Child Support Case through MDHS
Every child needs financial and emotional support from both parents. Even when parents do not live together, it is important they work together to support their children.
1 Apply for Services
Your first step in establishing a child support case depends on your situation.
If you were referred to Child Support because you are applying for SNAP or TANF benefits:
If you are applying for SNAP or TANF benefits and you are required to cooperate with child support, your MDHS case worker will ask you to complete a form called the “Notice of Child Support Enforcement (MDHS EA Form 941)” if you do not already have an open child support case with MDHS.
Once you complete the form, you will return it to your MDHS county office.
If you DO NOT have a SNAP or TANF case that requires you to comply with child support:
You will submit a Child Support application along with a $25 application fee by mail or in person at the following address:
MDHS-Division of Child Support
950 E. County Line Road, Suite #G
Ridgeland, MS 39157
2 Receive an appointment letter & gather documents.
Next, you’ll receive a letter from the Child Support office asking you to contact their office to set up an appointment time. This letter will include important information about the documents that you will need to provide.
These documents may include:
- birth certificates for your children,
- a form of state-issued ID, such as a driver license,
- social security cards for your children
- divorce orders, if any
You can upload your documents here, but you will still need to bring most documents to your appointment for verification purposes. Before your appointment, call the Child Support Call Center to confirm which documents to bring with you.
You can reach the Child Support Call Center at 877-882-4916.
3 Complete an appointment with the Child Support Office
Your child support appointment can be held either in person or by phone. You will be asked to provide information about your child’s other parent.
Be ready to provide as much information as possible about the other parent. If you have information about the other parent’s social security number, date of birth, current address, income, finances, or employer this will be helpful in processing your application for child support more quickly.
4 The Child Support Office will work to locate the other parent, if needed
If the location of your child’s other parent is unknown to you, the child support office will begin the process of locating him or her. This may take time, depending on how much information you are able to provide about the other parent.
Providing a social security number (SSN) for the other parent is very helpful in location services.
5 The Child Support Office will work to establish paternity, if needed
If the other parent has not been named the legal parent of your child, the child support office will begin the process of establishing paternity – this means establishing the other parent as the legal parent of the child.
There are several ways that paternity can be established including: Marriage, A Simple Acknowledgement of Paternity (ASAP), or through the courts. Learn more about each of these below.
There are several ways that biological fathers become legal fathers:
If a married couple has children, the husband is presumed to be the legal father. Paternity is established by the birth of a child to a married couple.
- This is a voluntary and legally binding form completed by parents who are not married. It is often completed at the hospital when the child is born. It is signed by both the mother and the father and gets filed with the birth certificate.
- If both parents complete the ASAP, no further action is needed to establish paternity.
- The hospital or birthing facility will have this form available to parents, and there is no fee involved when the acknowledgment of paternity is filed along with the birth certificate.
- If an unmarried couple does not complete A Simple Acknowledgement of Paternity (ASAP), a court will have to establish paternity.
- If the alleged father is unwilling to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form, the mother can request assistance from the Division of Child Support Enforcement in establishing paternity and obtaining child support through the court system.
- The parent applying for assistance will pay a $25 application fee for child support services unless she is receiving any state supported benefit such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, (TANF) and/or Medicaid, in which case there is no charge for this service.
- The MDHS Child Support program does not represent either parent, but child support program staff can assist either parent in completing the necessary steps, including DNA tests if there is a question about the identity of the child’s father.
- A hearing will be requested and both parties (usually the parents) will have the opportunity to attend. At the hearing, a judge will review all the evidence to determine the whether the alleged father is the legal father.
6 The Child Support Office will seek a court order for child support
Once the other parent is located and paternity is established, the Child Support Office will work to establish a formal child support order through the courts.
There are two ways that an enforceable child support order or agreement can be created: a court hearing or a stipulated agreement.
To establish a child support order, a legal document called a “complaint for support” along with a summons for a hearing is served on the parent alleged to be responsible for providing support.
During the hearing, the court will hear evidence from each party (usually each of the parents) and determine the amount of child support to be paid, if any. The amount of child support is based on several factors, including the parent’s ability to pay based on their individual income and the legal guidelines for child support.
Once the court’s order is established, MDHS will enforce the order and begin collecting child support.
A stipulated agreement is a notarized document signed by the parent responsible for support in which he or she agrees to pay a certain child support amount based on several factors, including the parent’s ability to pay based on their individual income and the legal guidelines for child support.
When this document is approved by the court, it can be enforced by MDHS just like an order established through a court hearing.
7 The Child Support Office will begin enforcing the child support order and collecting payment
Once there is a legal child support order from the court in place, the child support office will begin enforcing the order. This means that the parent who has been ordered to pay child support will be required to pay the court-ordered child support amount or face penalties.
8 Receive child support payments
Parents receiving child support can receive child support through direct deposit into a bank account or through a Way2Go Debit MasterCard. Each time child support payments are collected, these funds are electronically deposited to the bank account or debit card.
Fees may apply to the Way2Go Debit Mastercard depending on how the card is used.
If you’re having an issue with your Way2Go card, you can call the Way2Go Card Services Center at: 1-855-709-1079.
*Parents who receive support may also be subject to an annual $35 fee if the case meets certain criteria. Learn more here.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not received child support payments, you can call the Child Support Call Center at 877-882-4916 and ask to speak with a case worker about the status of your case.
You can also complete and submit a Custodial Parent Contempt Questionnaire form to request that a contempt action be filed against the parent responsible for paying child support.
After you submit the form, the child support office will review your case and decide whether or not to file for contempt. There is no guarantee that contempt will be filed.
If a contempt action is filed and the parent owing support is properly served, the Court will hear the facts and make a ruling.
If you already have a child support order from a divorce, another state, or a private child support case, and you just need our help with enforcement, please fill out an application, pay the $25 fee via check or money order, and take documents/fee to any local Child Support office or mail it here:
950 E. County Line Rd, Ste. #G
Ridgeland, MS 39157
*Parents who receive support may also be subject to an annual $35 fee if the case meets certain criteria.
MDHS is required by federal law to charge an annual fee on child support cases that meet certain criteria:
- MDHS has disbursed at least $550 in child support to the parent receiving support during the federal fiscal year which runs from October 1 through September 30.
- The parent receiving support has never received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
- The parent receiving support is not receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for children under 18 at the time the threshold amount of $550 is met.
When a minimum of $550 is disbursed to the parent receiving support between October 1 and September 30, the fee will be assessed to the case. For additional details, please review our Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Annual Fee. This $35 fee is only charged once a year.
You should get in touch with the Child Support office to ask about your next step. You can call Child Support at 877-882-4916 or visit your local Child Support office.
Cooperating with child support means working with child support to achieve a common goal: getting your child the support they need.
Generally, cooperating with child support includes:
- keeping or rescheduling appointments with MDHS,
- responding to requests for information from MDHS,
- providing available information to MDHS to identify the non-custodial parent and help establish, modify, or enforce a support order,
- agreeing to DNA testing for yourself and your children if needed as part of establishing paternity, and
- appearing as a witness at a child support hearing, if requested.
Child Support determines whether you have made a good faith effort to cooperate.
In Mississippi, the amount of child support is determined using statutory guidelines.
These guidelines provide the percentage of the non-custodial parent’s adjusted gross income (total gross income minus specific deductions) of the parent paying child support that should be paid to the other parent as child support based on the number of children who are due support.
The court reviews child support agreements to make sure the guidelines are applied correctly and the child support amount is appropriate. In some cases, the court may decide not to use the guidelines to determine the amount of child support.
The child support amount is part of a court order, so changes to the amount must be done by a court order.
Parents have the right to request a review of the child support amount every three (3) years from the date the order was entered or modified by the court.
However, either parent may request a review of their case at any time should circumstances warrant.
To request a review of your child support amount, you can complete and submit the appropriate form:
The reviews conducted on the three-year review cycle do not require proof of a substantial change of circumstances before a court may modify the child support order.
Reviews conducted earlier than the scheduled three-year review require proof of a substantial change in circumstances.
The following are some of the factors that can be used to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstance:
- Substantial increase or decrease in the income of the parent who owes child support;
- Increased needs caused by advanced age and maturity of the children;
- Increase in expenses;
- The health and special needs of the child;
- The health and special medical needs of the parents.
When the review is complete, each parent will receive notice of the results and have an opportunity to agree or disagree with the results. A court must approve the final order.
You should update your address within five (5) days, along with any other contact information that may have changed, such as your phone number. This can be done by:
- Calling the Child Support Call Center at 877-882-4916 and providing the information,
- Uploading the new address and contact information online through the Child Support Document Upload page, or
- Physically bringing your new address and contact information to any child support office.
If the other parent of your child lives in a different state, MDHS can still help. Once a case is open with MDHS, an interstate case will be opened with the other state to establish paternity, set a support amount, modify, or enforce a court order.
MDHS will be your primary contact to receive payments sent from the other state, obtain status updates on your case, report information, or request enforcement from the other state agency.
You can receive child support funds via direct deposit by completing the Authorization Agreement for Direct Deposit and submitting it to the address at the top of form along with the required documents listed on the form.
After your case opens, a Way2Go debit card will be sent to your address automatically once the first payment is applied to your case. Please open all mail from MDHS so you can receive your card timely.
All child support payments should be made directly to MDHS. Otherwise, the parent who pays child support may not receive credit for making the payment and may face penalties or owe back child support.
If you receive child support payments directly from your child’s other parent responsible for paying child support, you will have a one-time opportunity to give credit to the parent for support directly paid to you. You will be asked to provide proof of the payment and fill out an Affidavit of Accounting in the local Child Support office in front of a notary.
Contact the Child Support office if you have questions or need more information: 877-882-4916.
If a parent receiving support is no longer on assistance (for example, SNAP or TANF), and no child support arrears (back child support) or fees are owed to the state, that parent may write and sign a written statement requesting closure of their child support case and submit it with a copy of their picture ID to a local child support office or via the online Document Upload portal (take a pic of the signed, written statement and picture ID).
Any arrears (back child support) or fees owed to the state must be paid before a child support case will be closed. To pay fees only, a check or money order should be sent with name, case number or SSN, and a statement of “Fees Only” should be written on the payment.
Payment can be sent to:
PO Box 23094
Jackson, MS 39205
*If certain enforcement actions such as bank account seizures and active liens) are currently being taken, a case may be unable to close until the enforcement action has been completed. Please visit a local office or contact the call center at 877-882-4916 if you have any questions or concerns.
No, MDHS represents the State, and does not provide representation to either parent. No attorney-client relationship exists between an attorney employed by MDHS and any recipient of child support program services.
You have the right to:
- Receive fair and nondiscriminatory treatment.
- Have all your private data treated confidentially; if you disclose the existence of domestic/family violence, your case will be subject to heightened safeguards to ensure your participation in child support does not contribute to an unsafe environment.
- Be notified of all important actions concerning your case.
- Ask for reviews and changes to your support order. Either parent has the right to ask for a review of the court order to ensure the amount is appropriately based on established guidelines.
Domestic/family violence is more than just physical abuse. Both men and women and either parent can be victims.
Domestic/family violence can also include:
- The use of words to inflict emotional damage or gain control;
- The use of force or verbal pressure to have sex or other sexual acts without permission;
- The destruction or theft of property or the withholding of money;
- Unwanted attention that can create an environment of fear.
If there are domestic/family violence issues in a child support case, your privacy can be safeguarded and information about the location of the parent and child(ren) will be protected from disclosure to the other parent and/or anyone, unless disclosure is ordered by a court.
These protections can include:
- Removing the address and other personal contact information for certain court filings.
- Notifying other states of safety concerns if you or the other parent move out of state.
- Making sure to schedule appointments so you and the other parent are not in the office at the same time.
- Working with the courts to make sure there’s appropriate security at court or alternative methods for appearing at court.
- Connecting you with community resources to help with safety planning, transportation, housing, and other legal services.
- Upon a showing of good cause, closing your case if pursuing child support is not in the best interest and safety of you or your children.
Did your Way2Go debit card get lost, damaged or stolen? Call Way2Go card services immediately at 855-709-1079 (available 24/7) to report a lost, damaged or stolen card and to receive instructions on how to order a replacement card or safeguard funds.
Child Support Call Center
Have a question about your child support case? You can reach the Child Support Call Center at 877-882-4916.