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How to get child support when the absent parent can't be found

It's one of the most frustrating problems facing single parents — trying to track down the non-custodial parent to force him or her to pay support for their child.

But there is help out there. Both the National Directory of New Hires and the Federal Case Registry can access information from the following agencies:

-- Social Security Administration

-- Department of Defense

-- Department of Veterans Affairs

-- Internal Revenue Service

-- National Personnel Records Center

-- State workforce agencies

-- State directories of new hires

If there is no order for child support already, a family law attorney can assist them with initiating the process. In order to force the absent parent to pay support, custodial parents may choose to pursue their case through their local child support enforcement office.

All of the following can be used to determine the absent parent's whereabouts:

-- Social Security number

-- Names and addresses of any known employers, co-workers, friends and family members

-- Professional organizations

-- Unions

In cases where the Social Security number is unknown, the support enforcement agency can subpoena records from any of the following:

-- Financial institutions

-- Insurance carriers

-- Credit card companies

-- Former employers

Sometimes other state and federal agencies share data on deadbeat parents to help kids get the support they need. Social Security numbers can be obtained from:

-- Department of Motor Vehicles

-- Internal Revenue Service

-- County registrars of marriage licenses and death certificates

-- Occupational licenses

-- Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for recreational licenses

-- Prior support orders or paternity acknowledgements for other children

Even when the noncustodial parent has left the area, the State Parent Locator Service can review records at other state's agency databanks to try to find the absent parent. A family law attorney can cooperate with the support enforcement agency to make sure that they have updated information as it is relayed from their client.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, "Child Support Handbook," accessed Aug. 20, 2015

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