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Establishing a child support order

If you're seeking child support, one of the most common questions you may have is how long it will take to establish the child support order and for you to start getting payments. While this varies considerably depending on the details of your case, there are some general guidelines and factors to be aware of.

In general, it takes three to six months to establish a child support order. For those seeking a child support order in relation to current divorce proceedings, the establishment process is likely to run on the shorter side of that range. This is primarily because both parties are already present in the courts, easily located and most likely providing the courts with necessary information in a timely manner.

If you are seeking child support from someone you were not married to, it can take longer. The more information you can provide on the person's whereabouts, the more quickly the order is likely to be able to be processed. Things to provide the child support agency with include a name, current or last known address, contact information, current employer and physical description. This is because the other party must be formally and personally served before the establishment process can begin. The longer it takes to locate the other person, the longer it will take for him or her to be served.

Establishing a child support order can take quite some time and is not always a straight road. There may be many obstacles to climb during the process, and it's important to be prepared for hearings and court appearances as necessary.

Source: Maryland Department of Human Resources: Child Support Enforcement Administration, "Receiving Support: Frequently Asked Questions," accessed June 03, 2016

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