The Kentucky Child Support Program - Formerly Known as the "Friend of the Court"

Today's post is guest-written by Assistant McCracken County Attorney Deanna Wise Henschel. Ms. Henschel is in charge of child support collection in McCracken County, Kentucky.

What is the Child Support Program?

Every county in Kentucky has a local Child Support Office administered by the Kentucky Department for Income Support/Child Support Enforcement.  Each office is managed through the local County Attorney’s Office and an attorney in that office represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky in Court.

The duties of the Child Support Program are to establish paternity for unmarried parents, obtain child support and medical support orders from the Court and enforce and collect child support payments.  The Child Support Program also helps locate noncustodial parents and reviews support orders for possible modification.

Who is eligible for services?

Anyone who has custody of a child and needs help establishing who is the father of the child, establishing a child support order, or collecting current or past-due child support payments is eligible to receive child support services.  You do not have to be the child’s parent to qualify for child support services.

Families who receive public assistance receive child support services automatically. (Child support payments collected for families receiving public assistance go to the state and federal governments as repayment for public assistance.)

Families who do not receive public assistance may apply for child support services by completing an application and interview at the local office.  There are online services available as well.

What child support related services are not provided? 

By law, the Child Support Office cannot address other legal issues that are often associated with paternity and child support.  It is always best for a parent to contact a private attorney for such issues as divorce, property settlements, visitation and custody, spousal support, or for other legal advice.

Will the Child Support Office attorney represent me in court?

No.  The attorney is contracted to provide child support services and to represent the best interests of the children in that county.  The County Attorney representative does not represent either parent in Court.  There are times when a custodial parent does not agree with the course of action chosen by the County Attorney representative.  That parent may close his/her case with the child support office and pursue collection independently or through a private attorney.

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