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What if I can’t locate the parent responsible for child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Child Support |

It can be challenging if a custodial parent does not know the whereabouts of the parent responsible for providing support. The weight of this situation can feel overwhelming. It can leave them with unanswered questions and concerns about providing for their child’s needs.

To address the needs of custodial parents facing difficulties in locating the obligated parent, Mississippi offers a valuable resource: locate-only services. These services are available free of charge, focused solely on finding the responsible parent.

How does it work?

In accordance with Mississippi law, the child support agency establishes a state parent locator service. This service employs both public and private locator sources to find parents who owe support and alleged parents. Note that all information gathered during the search remains confidential. The agency shall use it solely for specified purposes.

How long will they search?

The law requires agencies to continue their efforts to locate the parent responsible for support for a certain period. The duration depends on whether the parent’s social security number is known. The agency will continue searching for six months if the social security number is unknown. If the social security number is known, the efforts will extend for two years or until the custodial parent closes the case.

If the parent responsible for support is located while the custodial parent is receiving locate-only services, they have the option to pursue full child support services from the agency. However, the agency may assess a fee for this transition.

What if the search fails?

When child services reach an impasse in locating the parent responsible for child support, there are alternative options that custodial parents may pursue. One option is to consult with a family law attorney. They can provide guidance and explore legal strategies to track down the parent.

Custodial parents may also petition the court for assistance. This involves filing a motion or petition, explaining the efforts made to locate the responsible parent and the need for court intervention. The court may issue an order to facilitate the search. They may authorize additional resources or utilize specialized investigative services to find the parent.

When all efforts have been exhausted, custodial parents can also explore government assistance programs designed to provide financial support to children in need. Programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help alleviate the financial burden while they look for alternative solutions.

While the inability to locate the parent responsible for child support can be challenging and overwhelming, there are options available for custodial parents to lean on, even when the path seems uncertain.