The contested final hearing is a formal court hearing (like the interim hearing, if you had one). The Judge (or Magistrate where child support is the only issue) listens to both sides, then issues a final order. You may give your own testimony and present witnesses and documents. You may cross-examine the other party. The court rules of evidence and procedure apply.
The Magistrate (or Judge) may tell you on the day of the hearing what the final order will say. Or you may receive it in the mail after it has been drafted and signed. The Order takes effect when the clerk enters it on the "court docket," usually the same day the Judge or Magistrate signs it.
Q. If the court orders that I should get child support, how do I collect it?
A. You have choices. You can wait to see if the other parent pays regularly. If this happens, you don't have to do anything to enforce the order.
If you are not getting the payments, or think that you'll need help collecting your child support, you have other choices.
- You can ask the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to collect the money and send it to you. The court clerk should have information about how to obtain an application for DHHS services. Or, you can get this information and an application from the DHHS website Fill out the application and send it to:
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery
11 State House Station
19 Union Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
- Be sure to submit all of the documents DHHS requires to open a case with the application. If you don't include everything they need, DHHS may return your application. After DHHA gets your complete application, they will open a case. The sooner you get your information to DHHS, the sooner they can begin the collection process.
If you or your children get TANF, you do not have to sign up for DHHS collection services. You get this service automatically.
- You can give the other parent's employer a copy of your Child Support Order, along with a completed Income Withholding for Support form.
This form orders the employer to withhold the amount owned to you from the other parent's wages each pay period and send the money to DHHS. If you choose this option, you must notify DHHS. Give DHHS your mailing address and keep it up to date. If you move and don't tell them, DHHS will not know where to find you. DHHS then forwards to you any money received from the employer. DHHS will not take any other steps to enforce the court order. This is called a "limited services" option.
Under either option you choose, any money collected on your behalf will be placed on a debit card which DHHS will mail to you. You may use this card at almost every ATM and retailer and any place that accepts VISA. You may also opt to have your child support directly deposited into a bank account. You will not receive paper checks.
If the other parent does not get a regular paycheck, collecting support may be much harder. Your choices are to ask for DHHS services through the application process, hire a lawyer, or try to take the other parent back to court on your own. The last choice may be difficult, depending on the facts of your case. Read about Post-Judgment Motions, then decide if you can do a Motion to Enforce or Motion for Contempt on your own.
If you need more answers from DHHS about establishing or collecting a child support order, call the Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery, at 207-624-4100