When does child support or alimony start?

Lawyer's secret:   You can file for temporary support (child support and or alimony) to receive payments while the case is pending - you do not have to wait until the end of your case.

Many parents don't realize that they do not have to wait until the end of the divorce to get support. Spouses are usually concerned that the other will delay the case on purpose to avoid paying support.  However, purposeful delay of a divorce case will not delay support. 


Child support and maintenance (alimony) can be ordered early in a divorce case.  After your attorney has filed the case and your spouse has has been served, either party may move the court to set temporary support, which will likely include temporary child support. A temporary child support figure can be obtained by court order usually within 60 -90 days after the filing a case, sometimes more quickly in emergency circumstances.

At a hearing or usually by agreement, a temporary child support obligation (and or alimony) will be set.  Later in the case, or at trial, a final amount will be determined. The sooner a case is filed, the sooner a child support obligation can be set by court order.  Delay will only postpone a court order instructing the obligor’s employer to withhold the support.  Support is sent to the county’s disbursement office and then sent to the custodial parent.

Many people wonder about the delay of time between when child support is withheld and when it is recieved.  Usually, the delay is only about three to four days.  Years ago many problems plagued the system; however, now you can expect to receive your check within a few days from the time it is withheld.