Iowa Child Support

How to Apply for Child Support in Iowa

The Child Support Recovery Unit is responsible for ensuring that families in Iowa receive the monetary support needed to meet the needs of children. This department is under the direction of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Applications for support in Iowa come with a $25 fee.  Download Forms.

Iowa Child Support Calculator

Iowa uses a variety of factors to calculate support amounts. The factors used include the monthly income of a parent, the number of children involved, health insurance amounts and any monthly support payments that are owed to other children. 

Iowa Child Support Payments

Support payments in Iowa can be received through direct deposit or via the ReliaCard. Payments can be made using a debit or credit card, in person, through automatic withdrawal or by mail.

Child Support Performance Stats for Iowa

Iowa's Child Support Recovery Unit handles tens of thousands of cases each year and administers hundreds of millions of dollars to families. The performance of the program is based on a number of measures.

Statistics for Regular On-Time Payments Collection

Other Incentive Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Statewide Paternity Establishment (%) 95.92 99.19 104.26 98.02 97.3
IV-D Paternity Establishment (%) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Support Order Establishment (%) 87.86 88.4 89.6 90.51 91.74
Cost-Effectiveness ($) 5.91 5.91 5.58 5.71 5.73

Total Number of Children in the Child Support Program

Total Distributed Collections and Total Administrative Expenditures ($ Millions)

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total Distributed Collections ($) 313.32 311.83 308.32 307.63 307.78
Total Distributed to Families ($) 287.59 288.28 287 287.47 289.11
Total Administrative Expenditures ($) 55.76 55.53 58.22 56.73 56.64

Average Collections per Case with Collections

Can the support be paid off early

It is possible to pay a lump sum. However, paying early does not guarantee that you will not owe more if your support obligation increases.

What Will Happen if You fall Behind Child Support Payment?

Enforcement representatives will use all means possible to track you down and recover unpaid funds. You could face income withholding, liens, license sanctions and charges for contempt of court.

Can you get alimony and support at the same time?

Yes, you can.

Can you stop the support payments?

A parent must first request for an order to be suspended in writing before an order can be ended. Here are the circumstances that may allow for support to end in Iowa:

  • One or more of the children are living with both parents in the same household.
  • One or more of the children are living in the same household with the parent ordered to pay support.
  • One or more of the children are living with a caretaker who does not want support services.

IA Child Support and Taxes

Child support does not impact taxes in Iowa. However, it is possible that a non-custodial parent may be able to claim a child as a dependent if the custodial parent allows.

Can the support payments be claimed on taxes in Iowa?

No, it can not be claimed on taxes.

How does my child support affect my taxes in Iowa?

You cannot deduct support payments that are made on your taxes. In addition, the person receiving the payments should not report them as income.

Can child support be taken pre-tax?

No, it can not be taken pre-tax in Iowa.

Can IA child support Take my federal tax return?

Both state and federal tax returns can be intercepted if you owe past-due child payments.

Paternity Establishment

Establishing paternity is the first step to establishing a support order and collecting payments.

How do you establish paternity?

Paternity in Iowa is established automatically if a mother and father are married. It is also possible for both parents to sign an affidavit verifying paternity once a child is born. A court can also issue an order that establishes paternity.

What rights does a father have if not on birth certificate?

A father will not have any rights until paternity has been legally established.

Can a mother refuse me paternity test?

A court in Iowa can order genetic testing if necessary.

How to establish paternity if the father is deceased?

The DNA of a family member is often used in such cases.

Can a father get a paternity test without the mother?

It is not legal to subject a child to a DNA test without the knowledge of a primary legal guardian.

How long does a father have to establish paternity in Iowa?

Paternity can be established in Iowa until a child turns 18.

Support Order Establishment

Orders can be established once paternity has been settled and the non-custodial parent has been located.

State Child Support Orders

The state's enforcement agency can assist with locating an absent parent, establishing paternity, establishing an order, enforcing an order, modifying an order and ending an order.

Can child support be modified?

Yes, it can be modified.

How do I file for a modification of child support?

Iowa's support agency can use an administrative modification to change the amount of support that is paid. This can occur if a parent's income increases or decreases by 50 percent or if a child needs to be added to an order. Modifications in Iowa can also be used to correct mistakes.

Can a child support order appeal?

A parent can request that order is suspended and reviewed.

Do you need a lawyer to modify child support?

Legal representation is recommended when dealing with a support case in Iowa. 

When can you modify the support?

There is no limit to how frequently support orders can be modified in Iowa. However, requests for suspensions can only be made once every two years. 

Child Support Enforcement

How long does the child support enforcement take?

Enforcement times will depend on whether or not parents agree on paternity and support terms. In addition, enforcement times also depend on whether or not a parent needs to be located. 

What to do when child support is not paid?

Tell your caseworker after you have verified that funds have not been received in your account. 

What Happens if I’m not paying the support?

Enforcement representatives will do everything possible to collect support payments that are owed. Your employer may be contacted and your wages may be garnished. In addition, you face a number of penalties. 

How much overdue child support payment can be considered a felony?

Support that is overdue by two years or that totals $10,000 or more. 

Can child support debt be forgiven?

Iowa has a debt-forgiveness program in place for non-custodial parents who owe at least $1,500 in support debt and meet other criteria. Support debt is forgiven over a period of six years in Iowa. 

Support Order Termination

How do I stop a child support order?

You must submit a written request to have an order suspended. The order will then be reviewed and could potentially be stopped.

When Can I Apply for Child Support Termination?

Once certain changes have occurred regarding the household where a child resides or if a child becomes emancipated.

Can the custodial parent close a child support case?

Both parents have the ability to request that a support case be closed in Iowa.

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

When a child reaches the appropriate legal age or if some other qualifying circumstance occurs.

What is the legal age to stop paying child support?

Support ends at the age of 18 in Iowa. However, it can extend until a child turns 19 if that child is enrolled in high school.

Iowa Hearing Rights

Both parents have hearing rights when it comes to establishing paternity and establishing an order. In addition, Iowa gives parents the right to arrange modifications privately through the court.

Iowa Child Support Guidelines

Iowa has certain guidelines in place regarding what parents are obligated to cover based on income and visitation. The state has specific guidelines regarding things like medical coverage and childcare costs. However, there is some room for deviation for the court.

Iowa Child Support Coverage

What is child support meant to cover?

Food, clothing, shelter, medical costs and more covered by Iowa Child Support laws.

Does Child Support n Cover Medical Care Expenses?

Iowa requires health insurance to be provided if a parent has coverage available at a reasonable cost. Cash medical support may be ordered when this is not the case.

What if Both Parents are working, will Child Support Cover child care services?

Childcare costs are not specifically included in the data used to determine support totals in Iowa. However, courts in the state are given permission to vary on their opinions regarding the matter.

Are Car Maintenance Costs Covered by Child Support?

This is decided on a case-by-case basis in Iowa.

What is Considered Basic Entertainment for Child Support?

Basic entertainment covers movies, television shows, entry fees to attractions and Internet costs.

Are College expenses Covered by Child Support?

Not by default. However, a court can order parents to pay certain college expenses in some cases.

Are Extracurricular Activities covered by Support?

Typically, yes.

Are School Related Costs Covered by Child Support?


Iowa Child Support Offices

Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Iowa Department of Human Services 9125 Des Moines 888-229-9223

County Child Support Offices in IA

County name Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Polk County Polk County, IA Ankeny Child Support Recovery Unit 1605 SE Delaware Ave, Suite?A, Ankeny, IA 50021 N/A 1(515) 369-2800
Polk County Polk County, IA Des Moines North Child Support Recovery Unit 6200 Aurora Ave, Suite 301E, Urbandale, IA 50322 N/A 1(515) 369-2750
Polk County Polk County, IA Pleasant Hill Child Support Recovery Unit 1300 Metro East Drive, Suite 114, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327 N/A 1(515) 261-5870
Polk County Polk County, IA Des Moines South Child Support Recovery Unit 525 SW 5th Street, Suite H, PO Box 9135, Des Moines, IA 50306 N/A 1(515) 369-2860
Marshall County Marshall County, IA Marshalltown Child Support Recovery Unit 204 1/2 W State St, Marshalltown, IA 50158 N/A 1(641) 753-6408
Warren County Warren County, IA Indianola Child Support Recovery Unit 1807 W 2-nd Ave, Indianola, IA 50125 N/A 1(515) 962-5400
Webster County Webster County, IA Fort Dodge Child Support Recovery Unit 330 1st Ave N, Fort Dodge, IA 50501 N/A 1(515) 955-5464
Carroll County Carroll County, IA Carroll Child Support Recovery Unit 625 N. West St, PO Box 937, Carroll, IA 51401 N/A 1(712) 792-5691
Union County Union County, IA Creston Child Support Recovery Unit 1103 S. Sumner St., Creston, IA 50801 N/A 1(866) 219-9120
Black Hawk County Black Hawk County, IA Waterloo Child Support Recovery Unit 501 Sycamore St., Suite 400, Waterloo, IA 50703 N/A 1(319) 291-2646
Clay County Clay County, IA Spencer Child Support Recovery Unit 20 W. 6TH ST., Suite 200, Spencer, IA 51301 N/A 1(712) 262-1412
Woodbury County Woodbury County, IA Sioux City Child Support Recovery Unit 600 4th St, Suite 770, Sioux City, IA 51101 N/A 1(712) 255-2749
Pottawattamie County Pottawattamie County, IA Council Bluffs Child Support Recovery Unit 300 W. Broadway, Suite 32, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 N/A 1(712) 242-2358
Cerro Gordo County Cerro Gordo County, IA Mason City Child Support Recovery Unit 22 N. Georgia Ave., Mohawk Square, Suite 13, Mason City, IA 50401 N/A 1(641) 424-1147
Winneshiek County Winneshiek County, IA Decorah Child Support Recovery Unit 317 Washington St, Suite 2, Decorah, IA 52101 N/A 1(563)-382-2666
Wapello County Wapello County, IA Ottumwa Child Support Recovery Unit 127 E. Main, Suite 100, Ottumwa, IA 52501 N/A 1(641) 682-8802
Clinton County Clinton County, IA Clinton Child Support Recovery Unit 121 6th Ave S, PO Box 1175, Clinton, IA 52733 N/A 1(563) 243-8237
Scott County Scott County, IA Davenport Child Support Recovery Unit 3911 W. Locust St., Davenport, IA 52804 N/A 1(563) 388-0409
Des Moines County Des Moines County, IA Burlington Child Support Recovery Unit 409 N 4th St., PO Box 638, Burlington, IA 52601 N/A 1(319) 753-6322
Linn County Linn County, IA Cedar Rapids Child Support Recovery Unit 411 3rd Street SE, Suite 200, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 N/A 1(319) 398-3619
Dubuque County Dubuque County, IA Dubuque Child Support Recovery Unit 960 Main Street, PO Box 3068, Dubuque, IA 52004 N/A 1(563) 557-7113