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Contact Us For More Information 208.843.7362

385 Agency Road

PO Box 365

Lapwai, ID.


Serving families who live or work on the Nez Perce Reservation.

Fequently Asked Questions

Q: If the other parent denies visitation with my children, do I still have to pay child support?

A: Yes. Even when you are denied visitation with your children, you must still pay your monthly child support. If you choose not to, every month your child support is not paid, it goes into arrears and will continue to do so until you pay. Child Support and Child Custody are two seperate issues. CSEP follows what court orders state. If you are denied your parental rights, then this matter needs to be settled in court. CSEP staff are not allowed to give ANY legal advice.

Q: What are arrears?

A: Child support arrears means outstanding or past due debt of child support payments. Every month a payment is not received, the past due amount will increase until the child reaches the age of 18 or longer.

Q: Can arrears ever be forgiven?

A: Yes and No, depending on the circumstances.

When a custodial parent has not been on public assistance such as TANF, food stamps, medicaid, etc. then child support arrears owed will be to the custodial parent only. In this case, the custodial parent has the option of "forgiving" all or portion of the arrears. The custodial parent may or may not agree to this since it is their decision on whether to forgive past debt owed to them.

When a custodial parent has been on public assistance such as TANF, food stamps, medicaid, etc. then arrears are owed to the State in which services where received. The policies of the State where the services were received will determine whether arrears will be forgiven. Idaho State's policy does not provide for forgiveness or arrears owed to that state. However, Washington State does have a forgiveness policy. So it all depends on the state.

Q: What is a default judgment?

A: The term "default" refers to a "failure to act" and the term "judgment" means the final disposition in a legal proceeding. When dealing with Child Support Enforcement and Tribal Court, default judgments are typically granted because the petitioner or non-custodial parent fails to show up for court. When you fail to appear in court, the judge usually grants a default judgment. If you receive a "Notice to Show Cause" by the Nez Perce Tribal Court Child Support Enforcement Program, DO NOT ignore it. The only way to have your voice heard is to appear in court and present the judge with your side of the story. Go to court prepared to show your good faith efforts in resolving the issue.

Q: If I ignore this court judgment, will it go away?

A: The answer is NO. The order is effective from the date it is signed and until the order is modified or the child reaches the age of 18 or in some cases, if the child is going to college or longer. If you have arrears or back child support, you will still be required to pay your child support until the debt is paid in full.

Q: How does a default judgment affect a child support case?

A: A default judgment means an order was entered in your absence after you were given proper notification of the date and time of hearing. Consequently, you don't get your voice heard if you ignore the court papers when they are served on you. There is a procedure to set aside a default judgment, but you must make a request to the Court and show good cause why you did not answer the first notification or order to appear. Your request must be made within reasonable time, and for certain reasons the request must be made within one year of judgment.

Q: What if I don't believe I am the father of the child and my name is now on the court order for child support?

A: Paternity is usually established at the hosptal when parents sign the birth certificate before it is sent to the Idaho Bureau of Vital Statistics. You have six months from the date on the form to protest the paternity. If you fail to do so within the time frame and you have been named as the father in a child support order, it is very difficult, dut not impossible to reverse.

Paternity establishment is when a court legally identifies a father. In a disputed case, mother and child can be required to submit to genetic testing. Paternity establishment is the first step for obtaining an order for child support when a child is born out of wedlock.

A child's father has to be legally identified and the Tribal Court makes that determination. When the custodial parent applies for services from CSEP and you are identified as the father, you will be given notice of all proposed legal actions submitted to the Tribal Court. Even if you are identified and accept responsibility as the father it is your right and responsibility to stay involved.

If you do not participate, or default by not responding to the legal proceedings, the Court will proceed to set a child support amount and rule on other issues which may be important to you such as visitation and medical insurance. It does not pay to ignore any court documents but it does pay to stay involved.

Our program can provide for genetic testing, however, we cannot represent you in any proceedings to disestablish your paternity. Idaho Legal Aid services is available for tribal members and we would refer you to them for further assistance. Child support as defined by the Nez Perce Tribe is to help families by promoting family self-sufficiency and child wellbeing.

Q: My children are adults, why do I still owe child support?

A: If you don't pay your child support debt, it increases every month it is not paid. It does not matter if your children are grown adults or not. If there is a past debt of child support, you will be expected to pay until it is gone. Arrears will never go away and if you ignore it, arrears can follow you to retirement and even after death. The State can go after your retirement, social security benefits and can even take your probate to settle past arrearages. The best advice is to make arrangements with CSEP to start paying down your child support arrearages.

Q: How can I have my driver's license reinstated or stop the license suspension process?

A: You will need to contact the State in which your license was issued to find out the exact process. In most States, you must make consistent child support payments for at least three (3) consecutive months before reinstatement of license is even considered. You will need to work out a payment agreement with CSEP office of the State and comply with the terms of the agreement. Once this is done, we will make a request to the State to have your license reinstated or to stop your license from being suspended.

Q: A lien has been filed against my property, how is a lien removed?

A: When CSEP files a lien against a parent, he/she is unable to sell any property (real estate) until the lien is removed. When a lien is filed, the parent is notified. Liens are removed only when all child support debts are paid or when the child support case is closed.

Q: How can I make payments?

A: You can make payments at the CSEP office or any child support office in the State where you owe child support. Payments can be by cash, check or money order.

Q: If my child is in foster care, do I owe child support?

A: Yes. Once CSEP receives a child support order for your child, our office will enforce the court order. As a parent, you are legally responsible for financially supporting your child, even if you are not living together. CSEP will collect support to help pay for the cost of care for the time your child is away from home.

Q: What happens when there are multiple orders to pay child support?

A: When a parent has more than one child support case, the money is applied in the following order:

NOTE: Generally, how child support is dispersed to more than one family is how it is explained above. However, it still depends on where the child support order originates and the laws that govern that order will apply.

Q: What is in-kind?

A: CSEP in-kind policy is based upon the Nez Perce Tribe's culture, traditions and customs. In-kind as defined is given a monetary value and can be applied if there is no viable income to fulfill a financial support order. In-kind payments are a secondary source and do not replace cash payments. A minimum cash payment amount shall be set by the court; case-by-case or set by Tribal code.

To qualify for this policy:

Q: What is considered in-kind?

A: in-kind can be providing wood, fish & game meat, roots & berries, providing day care, car or home repairs, tutoring or volunteering at the child's school, transportation to child's activities, powwow regalia, teaching treaty skills or cultural knowledge, and teaching Nimiipuu-timpt.

Nez Perce Tribe Website

Click here to return to Tribal homepage

Other Resources

Native American Fathers and Families Association. An Arizona based non-profit 501(C)(3) organization founded in 2002. This organization began with the purpose of strengthening Native American families through responsible fatherhood.

US Dept of Health and Human Services. National Office of Child Support Enforcement.OCSE partners with federal, state, tribal and local governments and others to promote parental responsibility so that children receive support from both parents even when they live in separate households. Reconnecting Families and Dads resources. HUD is facilitating ideas that will bring fathers and their children together more than just on Father’s Day, but to make that connection throughout the year.

The Native Wellness Institute exists to promote the well-being of Native people through programs and trainings that embrace the teachings and traditions of our ancestors.

To improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.

Provide social services for children and families. Services include: TANF, Financial, Energy and General Assistance, Child Protection, ICWA, OJJDP - Case Worker, Child Abuse/Neglect, Minors in Need of Care, Violence Against Women, USDA Commodity Foods Program, Senior Citizens Programs, Childrens' Home, LIHEAP.

Providing practical, everyday parenting tips and helpful advice for difficult situations, ParentFurther is your online resource that will help you 1) teach your kids positive values;2) set clear boundaries and enforce reasonable consequences;3) find the support and knowledge you need to help your kids grow up successfully; and 4) focus on the things that matter most to your family.