If you read through the information on this site, you’ll see repeated references to CSED. It stands for Child Support Enforcement Division and is an administrative agency and a part of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). CSED’s mission is to diligently pursue and ultimately achieve financial and medical support of children by establishing, enforcing, and increasing public awareness of parental obligations. Child support is a major component of this, but it also encompasses areas like health insurance. They provide child support enforcement services like: Locating absent parents; Establishing Paternity; Establishing financial and medical support orders; enforcing current and past-due child support; offering medical and spousal support; and Modifying child support orders.
Their actions are administrative in nature and can be appealed to District Courts. The interplay between CSED and the judicial system is complicated and often confusing. One key to remember is that if you are involved with CSED and unhappy with the ultimate result you can appeal their decisions to District Court and have a judge make a decision. If you are unhappy with the judge’s decision you can appeal to the Montana Supreme Court. Of course, saying you can appeal if you are unhappy is technically true – but not necessarily the reason that an appeal should be taken.
People receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) are automatically referred to CSED and support owed to the family is automatically assigned to the state as a part of the rules and regulations of TANF. Any support that is collected in these situations is first given to the state to reimburse it and the federal government for welfare that’s been given to the family.
Even if you are not involved with TANF you can still apply for CSED involvement in your case. In those situations, any support that’s collected is given to parent. Getting CSED involved has a number of advantages if you’re having trouble collecting your child support like license suspension and child support liens.
CSED is made up of six bureaus: Administrative Services, Field Services, Program and Training, Legal Services, Budget, and Office of the Administrative Law Judge. CSED is centrally located in Helena but has four regional offices in Butte, Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula.
They’re a terrific resource for people involved in child support disputes, but it’s important to know what they do before you go looking for help. For example, their job does not include helping with child support calculations.