Frequently Answered Questions

Child support can be complicated - especially when you can't get answers to your questions. Support Collectors wants you to have all the information you need. We want you to make informed decisions.

Alert! COVID-19 INFORMATION: Support Collectors is here to help during these difficult times. Read our full statement ›

Collection Questions

Eligibility Questions

General Questions

Collection Answers

Q: How does Support Collectors compare to the government?
A: It’s difficult to compare the work of the government child support agencies to the success of Support Collectors. Government agencies have a large percentage of cases that pay without a problem from day one to the end. Support Collectors’ cases are nearly the opposite. None of our clients’ cases are paying anything when they come to us. However, we do collect on over half of our cases which is fantastic considering our average new client is owed over $12,000 and has gone for years without a payment.
Q: Can Support Collectors intercept the non-custodial parent’s tax refund?
A: No. Only a government agency may intercept tax returns.
Q: I see that Support Collectors is based in Minnesota. Can Support Collectors help parents who live in other states?
A: Yes. In fact, most of Support Collectors’ clients live in other states. We also have a large percentage of cases that are interstate, which means the custodial parent and non-custodial parent don’t live in the same state anymore. Interstate cases are among the most challenging for government child support agencies to enforce. So, as you might expect, they have become one of our areas of expertise.
Q: How long will it take before I start receiving support?
A: Every case is different. Results depend on the complexity of the case and other factors such as how hard the non-custodial parent is trying to avoid paying and the financial resources available to the non-custodial parent. And, unfortunately, some cases never pay. You can rest assured, though, that Support Collectors is working hard and exploring every avenue of enforcement once your case has been accepted. During the entire process, we will provide you with periodic updates on our progress.
Q: Does Support Collectors also collect spousal support or alimony?
A: Yes. Although the majority of our cases involve child support enforcement, we have also had a lot of success enforcing spousal support orders. Fortunately, many of the tools available to collect child support can also be used for spousal support.
Q: What happens after Support Collectors has collected the total amount I asked them to collect?
A: The Support Collectors contract calls for us to collect a specific amount of support called the “Contract Balance.” When we have collected the Contract Balance the contract ends. There are also other provisions in the contract for you, or us, to cancel the contract. If you are still owed support after your contract ends you have the option of having your case monitored in our SupportTrak™ program. This is a reduced-fee program in which we monitor your case for any missed payments. It allows Support Collectors to quickly try to re-establish payments in the event they stop for some reason.
Q: Will I need a lawyer if I’m using Support Collectors’ services?
A: It’s unlikely that you will need an attorney while Support Collectors is enforcing your child support order. Occasionally, though, Support Collectors may determine that the best child support enforcement solution requires the services of an attorney. If that’s the case, Support Collectors will hire an attorney to represent you. Although Support Collectors pays for that attorney, the attorney will represent only you, not Support Collectors.*

*You also have the option at any time of hiring your own attorney at your own expense.

Back to top

Eligibility Answers

Q: How do I know I can trust Support Collectors?
A: Support Collectors has a proven track record of helping its clients in an honest, ethical and professional manner. Since 1996 we’ve helped thousands of parents just like you collect their child support and spousal support. In fact, many of our clients have even taken the time to write letters describing their experiences with Support Collectors.  You can view these testimonials on our website.  Support Collectors is licensed and bonded as required by a number of states and we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We encourage you to check out our record.
Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for help from Support Collectors?
A: You are eligible If you meet these requirements:

  • There is a court order awarding you child support or spousal support (alimony);
  • You are not currently receiving TANF or other public cash assistance; and
  • You are owed at least $5,000 in child support and/or spousal support.
If you’re eligible you can get started now!
Q: My children are over 18, can you still help me?
A: Yes.  In most states the unpaid child support is still legally owed and can be collected. In fact, these are often the best type of case since the non-custodial parent has had more time to increase earnings, acquire assets or invest in a retirement account.  Interestingly, about half of the state government child support agencies won’t open a case for you if your children are emancipated.
Q: Can Support Collectors help me even if I already have a case open with my government child support office?
A: Yes, you have the right to hire a private child support enforcement agency even if you’re already receiving services from a government agency. Additionally, your government agency can’t close your case with them simply because you’ve also chosen to work with a private agency. Support Collectors maintains cooperative relationships with public agencies nationwide to ensure seamless and coordinated enforcement.
Q: Can Support Collectors help me even if my government child support agency closed my case with them?
A: Probably. When a government child support agency closes your case, it only means that you’re no longer their customer and they’re no longer providing any services to you.  It does not necessarily mean you are no longer owed any support.  Government child support agencies have the authority to close cases for any number of reasons.  The most important question is whether you’ve received all the support you’re owed.  If not, then contact Support Collectors today.

Back to top

General Answers

Q: How can I determine how much support I’m owed?
A: You should contact the government child support agency currently responsible for processing your child support payments. They can send you a statement of arrears and a payment history. If you haven’t been working with a government child support office, or if the government child support office has closed your case, you will probably need to research your own records to determine the correct balance. Once you get started with Support Collectors, we’ll help you figure out how much you’re owed.
Q: How do I get started?
A: You can get started right now. It only takes a few minutes.  You can either use our secure on-line application or ask us to send you a paper application.
Q: How is Support Collectors different than the government agency I’ve been working with?
A: Government child support agencies do a great job on a lot of cases.  Unfortunately, budget constraints have reduced their ability to provide personalized service and solutions.  As a result, many of the more difficult cases have “fallen through the cracks.”  Support Collectors assigns its Enforcement Specialists smaller, more manageable caseloads.  That allows us to devote more time and resources toward determining the particular needs of your case. It is this individualized attention that sets Support Collectors apart.
Q: What is Support Collectors’ fee? When will I have to pay?
A: When it comes to the cost of our services our philosophy is simple: we don’t get paid unless you do. We are so confident in our ability to collect child support that we won’t ask for a dime until we have put money in your pocket. Compare this with other private agencies that charge additional amounts up to $500 for “intake” or “processing” fees. There are no such fees with Support Collectors.  If our enforcement efforts are successful we will charge a fee equal to 30%* of the support we collect. You will keep 70% of the support collected. We hope you’ll agree with so many of our clients who have told us that “Getting 70% of something is better than 100% of nothing!”
*Several states require a slightly different fee.
Q: If I don’t have a copy of my court order, how can I get one?
A: You will need to contact the clerk of the court in the county where your divorce or child support order was entered. Even if your court order is many years old, the clerk of the court should have a copy. If you have any trouble, just let us know. We’re here to help.  The “Contact Us” page lists our toll-free number, fax number, physical address and email address.
Q: I’m concerned about my privacy. Will you release my information to anyone?
A: At Support Collectors, we take the responsibility of safeguarding your privacy very seriously.  We have a strict Privacy Policy that prohibits your personal information being released to anyone.
Q: Can you help me even if I don’t know where the absent parent is located?
A: Yes we can.  Locating missing parents is an important part of what we do. Our team includes Locate Specialists with many years of experience tracking down the most evasive of parents. Like government child support agencies, we use special databases to find elusive parents.  Unlike government child support agencies, we also use a “hands-on”, labor intensive approach that includes talking to relatives, neighbors and friends to find the other parent’s whereabouts.  Remember, though, this is a team effort and including as much information about the other parent as possible in the application is very important, as well as keeping us updated with new information.
Q: What should I look for when choosing a private enforcement agency?
A: This question is so important that we put the guidelines on our Home Page.  Please read the section entitled “Choosing a Private Agency”.
Q: Will I have to appear in Court?
A: It is unlikely you will have to return to court if you already have a support order.  Occasionally, though, Support Collectors may determine that the best child support enforcement solution requires returning to court.  If that’s the case, Support Collectors will hire an attorney to represent you.
Q: Will I have to fill out a lot of complicated forms?
A: No. Our forms are easy to complete. Some of the forms provide Support Collectors with the information and authorization we need to enforce your case.  Other forms authorize government child support agencies to work cooperatively with us.  If you have questions or need assistance, our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to help you.
Q: How do I know if a call I’ve received was really from Support Collectors?
A: The numbers we use to contact you may vary depending on why we’re calling, or which of our departments is trying to reach you. For reference, here’s a list of the phone numbers we use most frequently to contact people owed or owing child support and/or spousal support.

Please note that additional numbers may be added from time to time.

  • (888) 729-6661
  • (888) 782-4453
  • (888) 828-9765
  • (763) 422-3921
  • (574) 216-1988
Q: Can Support Collectors help me understand some of the confusing child support terms I’m hearing?
A: Yes.  We’ve developed a Glossary of commonly used child support enforcement terms with definitions that are easy to understand. If you’re still confused or have questions, our Customer Service Representatives are here to help!

Back to top