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Parents and Caregivers

The Division of Child Support works to help parents and caregivers establish paternity (finding out who the father of the child is), set up a child support order, collect on an existing child support order, modify a child support order or locate a parent.

What is Child Support and how does it work?

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Requesting Child Support Services

Am I able to request services online?

DCS request for service form is available online. DCS currently requires hard copy requests and attachments to be submitted. If you wish to have a hard copy request for service mailed to you, please email DCS at or call one of the DCS offices.

What happens after a request for child support services is submitted?

Once request for service form is submitted, it is reviewed for completeness. If the form is not complete, it will be returned to you along with a letter indicating what information needs to be completed.

If the request for service form is complete, DCS will initiate a case on the DCS computer system and proceed with establishing paternity and/or child support order, if this has not already been done; or enforcing the child support order. Once the case is established, you will receive documents in the mail which will include your child support case number and case worker name and contact information. You should allow at least 4 weeks for a case to be established and the initial notices to be received.

How long does it take for a request for services to be processed?

In most situations, it takes 2-4 weeks for a request for service form to be processed and initial notices to be sent. If you have not received any notices after 4 weeks, please contact the DCS.

Paternity Establishment

Does Division of Child Support do free DNA testing without having to have a case open?

DCS does not provide free DNA testing. If paternity has not been established, either parent may apply for DCS services to establish paternity and a child support order. Once paternity is established, DCS will proceed with establishing a child support order.

I am not the father of the child. Does Division of Child Support assist with disestablishment of paternity?

DCS does not become involved in disestablishment proceedings. You will need to contact an attorney as an action must be filed in Circuit Court to reopen the paternity issue.

The father is listed on the birth certificate. Why does this not establish paternity?

In South Dakota, the father’s name on the birth certificate does not establish paternity. Paternity is established by a court order adjudicating paternity; genetic testing; signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity; or a child being born during marriage or within 10 months of dissolution of marriage.

If the child was born in another state, the other state’s laws would determine if the father’s name on the birth certificate establishes paternity.

Order Establishment

Am I able to get an order established on my own?

You may proceed with a private court action to establish a child support order. In most instances, you would need to obtain an attorney. If you do initiate a private action, you must notify your DCS worker. DCS is unable to proceed with your case until the private action is resolved.

How does child support get calculated?

Child support obligations are determined by the courts using guidelines set out in state law. When a child’s parents are separated, divorced, or unmarried, the guidelines help ensure both parents are sharing the cost to support their child. The child support obligation is set by looking at the combined monthly net incomes of both parents. The amount a person paying support must pay is based on their proportionate share.

When a person paying support’s monthly net income falls within the low income area of the guidelines, the child support amount is compared to their proportionate share using both parent’s monthly net incomes. Whichever amount is lower becomes the child support obligation.

The court may also split the costs for child care and health care coverage (i.e. medical, optometric, dental or orthodontic, or counseling costs) between the parents. These guidelines are believed to be appropriate unless either parent can show a change is necessary.

Why is minimum wage used for my wage when I’m unemployed?

South Dakota Codified Law 25-7-6.4 states it is presumed for purposes of determining a child support obligation a parent is capable of being employed a minimum of one thousand eight hundred twenty hours per year at the state’s minimum wage amount.

How long does it take to establish an order?

Once a parent has been located, the DCS will serve the parent with the Notice of Support Debt. The Notice of Support Debt advises the parent of his or her duty to support the child and advises they must respond to the notice and provide a financial statement. If the parent does not respond, DCS will proceed with obtaining a default order based upon available wage data for the parent. If the parent responds and provides a financial statement, the child support obligation will be calculated based upon the financial information provided. Either parent may also request a hearing regarding the Notice of Support Debt.

The length of time to establish an order can vary depending on if the parent needs to be located; if there are difficulties with serving the parent with the Notice of Support Debt; or if a hearing is requested.

What are my options if I disagree with the child support calculation?

If a parent disagrees with the child support amount stated in the Notice of Support Debt, the parent may request a hearing. If a hearing is requested, DCS forwards a request for hearing to the Clerk of Court. The Court will appoint a child support referee who will schedule a hearing with the parties and make a written recommendation to the Court as to the child support obligation. If either party disagrees with the referee’s recommendation, they may file an objection with the Court. The Circuit Court Judge will then schedule a hearing to consider the objections to the referee’s report. The Court may adopt, modify, or reject and remand the referee’s report with instructions to the referee for further hearing.


What does “enforcing my child support order” mean?

Enforcing a child support order means the person receiving support has applied for DCS services. The most common enforcement method is issuance of an income withholding order to the person paying support's employer. If there are child support arrears owed, there may be other enforcement actions taken such as restriction of driver, professional, hunting and/or fishing license(s); credit bureau reporting; IRS tax offset; referral to court for nonpayment; and passport denial.

What does Division of Child Support do when the parent doesn’t pay the child support?

The most common way for child support to be paid is for issuance of an Income Withholding Order to the parent’s employer. If an employer cannot be located and if the parent does not pay his/her child support, DCS will review the case and determine the most appropriate enforcement action to be taken. Some of the enforcement actions available to DCS are IRS tax offset; passport restriction; referral to court for nonpayment; lottery offset; and license restriction.

If the parent no longer resides in South Dakota, DCS may send a request to the parent’s state of residence requesting their assistance in enforcing the child support order. When this occurs, the case becomes subjected to the laws and policies of that state. The other state will provide updates to DCS as actions are taken. Therefore, parents receiving support should continue to contact DCS for status updates.

Why do I have to have an Income Withholding Order in place? Am I able to send payments in on my own?

South Dakota law requires all child support orders to have immediate income withholding language in the order. If the child support order contains this language and if the person receiving support has applied for DCS services, DCS will issue an income withholding order to the employer, if known.

DCS may enter into alternative payment agreements with the person paying support instead of issuing an income withholding order to the employer. The person paying support may enter into an authorization agreement which allows DCS to withdraw an amount equal to the current monthly child support obligation, plus an appropriate amount for arrears (if any exist) from his or her financial institution account.

Why am I submitted for IRS offset, credit bureau reporting and license restriction when I’m paying my child support?

Federal and state regulations require child support agencies to submit child support arrears for IRS offset, credit bureau report and license restriction when the arrears reach a certain amount.

Why can’t the Division of Child Support send non-payors to prison?

DCS does not have the authority to order an individual to prison for non-payment of child support, only the Circuit Court has this authority.

When does a parent’s driver, professional, hunting and/or fishing license become restricted?

The driver, professional, hunting and/or fishing license(s) are automatically restricted when the person paying support owes $1,000 or more in child support arrears and equals at least 3 months of the monthly child support obligation. For example, the monthly child support obligation is $1,000. The arrears would have to be at least $3,000 before the restriction would occur.

How is a restriction from a parent’s driver's license, professional license, hunting and/or fishing license removed?

A person has one of three options to have the restriction removed from their license:

  • Pay arrearage amount in full.
  • Enter into repayment agreement. The individual must negotiate a repayment plan with the Division of Child Support, Licensing Section, 700 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501 or telephone 605.773.6456. Once a repayment plan is agreed upon, the person will be required to sign a repayment agreement. Once the signed repayment agreement is received by the Division of Child Support, the restriction on any affected licenses will be lifted.
  • Request an administrative review. If the individual believes his/her license should not be restricted, he/she may submit a written request for an administrative review to the local office handling his/her case.

How do I know if a parent’s driver license is restricted?

DCS Customer Connect will show if a parent’s license is restricted. If you do not know your log-in information, you may contact the DCS at 605.773.3641 or email for assistance.

DCS also has an Automated Voice Response System which a parent can call toll-free and obtain the status of the parent’s license. If you do not know your case number and/or PIN number, you may contact the DCS at 605.773.3641 or email for assistance.

How do I know what enforcement actions are in place?

DCS Customer Connect contains information regarding the more common enforcement actions (e.g. income withholding, license restriction, IRS tax offset, credit bureau reporting, lottery intercept, and passport restriction).

Medical Support

How do I collect on unpaid medical bills and costs for the child(ren)?

See Medical Expenses Not Covered by Insurance.

Changing my child support amount

How often can I modify my order?

If you want to change your child support amount, this is called a “Modification” and the Division of Child Support can help you start that process. In South Dakota, the Circuit Court is the only entity that can modify a child support obligation. A child support order can be modified if it has been 3 years since the last order was entered or upon showing a substantial change in circumstance. A substantial change in circumstance could be an increase/decrease in income, daycare expense no longer being incurred, a child has graduated from high school and there are other minor children included in the order, etc.

If there is no change of circumstances, why do I have to wait 3 years before filing for modification?

South Dakota Codified Law 25-7A-22 states a child support order may be modified upon showing a substantial change in circumstances if he petition is filed within three years of the date of the order; or may be modified without showing any change in circumstance if the petition is filed after three years of the date of the order.

How do I modify my order and what is the process?

See Modification of Child Support Orders.

Does the child support obligation automatically reduce with the emancipation of the oldest child?

Majority of South Dakota child support orders state a specific amount is to be paid for the children. In other words, the child support order is not a per child order. When a child emancipates, the child support obligation remains the same until the order is modified.

The child is now residing with the parent who was ordered to pay child support. What should be done?

If a child is now residing with a parent who is ordered to pay, this would be considered a change in circumstance and the parent should file for modification. Until the order is modified, the parent is required to pay the child support obligation.


How do I find the balance owed on my child support case?

To find the balance owed on your child support case, you can either log in to DCS Customer Connect or call the Automated Voice Response System. If you do not know your log-in information, you may contact the DCS at 605.773.3641 or email for assistance.

How are payments disbursed to the person receiving support?

Payments are either disbursed via direct deposit to a bank account designated by the person receiving support or to a prepaid debit card, Way2Go card.

What is the Way2Go card and are there any fees associated with the card?

The Way2Go card is a prepaid debit card. If the person receiving support does not sign up for direct deposit, they are automatically enrolled to receive the Way2Go card. There may be fees associated with the Way2Go card. The person receiving support should contact Conduent who is the provider of the Way2Go card to inquire about fees.

What is the contact number for the Way2Go card?

The toll-free number is 844.893.3123.

Under what circumstances do I call the Way2Go card versus Division of Child Support?

You will need to call the Way2Go card for the following:

  • Your Way2Go card is lost or stolen;
  • You have never received the Way2Go card or need to have a replacement Way2Go card;
  • To report fraud; or
  • To obtain the balance on the card and transaction history. If you are unable to remember your PIN and have entered it incorrectly three (3) times, the system will then ask you to create a new PIN. If you are unable to get through when calling the Way2Go, contact DCS for assistance. You will need to contact DCS to update your address. It will take 24 hours for your address to be updated on the Way2Go.

Where do I send child support payments?

Child support payments may be mailed to:
Child Support Payment Center
700 Governors Drive, Suite 84
Pierre, SD 57501.

How long does it take to begin receiving child support when my case opens?

The length of time before payments are received varies. Factors which will impact the length of time are does an order has been established; does the parent need to be located; is the parent employed so an income withholding order can be issued; or does the case need to be referred to another state.

How long does it take for the person receiving support to receive the child support payment once Division of Child Support has received the payment?

The Child Support Payment Center generally processes all payments within two business days of receipt. Parents/caregivers must allow two to three days for mail delivery. There can be delays in payments due to holidays, inclement weather, postal delivery service and computer problems. DCS accepts electronic funds transfers from employers. DCS disburses child support payments electronically to parents/caregivers through direct deposit or an electronic debit card.

Why are some payments held?

There are times when DCS may hold a payment. A large payment may have been received and DCS wants to make sure the payment clears before disbursing the funds or it could be a situation where DCS needs to wait to see if an injured spouse claim is filed or to make sure the payment is not fraudulent.

Customer Connect

How do I get my user ID and PIN number for Customer Connect?

If you do not know your log-in information, you may contact the DCS at 605.773.3641 or email for assistance.

How do I re-set my PIN number to access my account on the website?

To reset your PIN number, you will need to contact DCS at 605.773.3641.


Why do I have to open a child support case when I receive TANF, SNAP and/or Medicaid when I don’t want child support from the other parent?

People who apply for or receive TANF, SNAP or Medicaid benefits are automatically eligible for DCS services and must cooperate with DCS in locating the parent, establishing paternity and a support order or enforcement of the order. If you do not cooperate with DCS’ action to establish paternity or child support, your public assistance benefits may be terminated. Applicants may have good cause for not cooperating with DCS; however, good cause must be approved by an Economic Assistance Benefits Specialist.

What can I do when the other parent is served with child support papers and threatens/harasses me?

If the other parent threatens/harasses you, you may want to obtain a protection order. Forms are available on Unified Judicial System’s website.

Does my order stop if Division of Child Support closes my case?

When a child support case closes and if there is still a current support obligation owed, the child support order is still valid. DCS will establish a non-enforced case on their computer system. DCS does not maintain ledger balances, track payments, or provide any type of enforcement action on a non-enforced case. If the person reapplies for DCS services at a later date, the person paying support may be responsible for paying all support that accrued while the order was not being enforced.

Will Division of Child Support assist me with obtaining custody or parenting time?

Child support and parenting time are separate matters. A parent/caretaker cannot withhold parenting time if a parent fails to pay support, and a parent cannot withhold support if the other parent/caretaker does not allow parenting time.

DCS will not represent either parent in matters of parenting time or custody. Custody and parenting time can only be established and enforced through Circuit Court. Parties may hire an attorney for these actions. Additionally, the Unified Judicial System has developed pro se parenting time forms which allow parties experiencing parenting time problems to petition the courts without hiring an attorney.

Can I terminate my parental rights so I don’t have to pay child support?

The court will not terminate parental rights just so a parent does not have to pay child support. Normally, there has to be another person who is willing to step-up financially to help support the child.

What does arrears mean?

Arrears are past due, unpaid child support owed by a parent.

When does the child support obligation stop?

South Dakota law requires child support to be paid until age 18, or until the age of 19 or graduation if the child is a full-time student in a secondary school (high school), whichever occurs first. Example: Child turns 18 on January 15, 2022. Child is enrolled full-time in high school and will graduate on May 28, 2022. Child support would be owed through May 2022.