How to Collect Back Child Support With a 4D Program

The 4D, or IV-D, program is an effort at the federal, state and local level to collect child support on behalf of custodial parents. The child support enforcement programs works in every state and even works with the assistance of some foreign countries as well. If you want to collect child support for your children, you don't have to go it alone: Your local child support enforcement agency will help you every step of the way.

Click the "U.S. Department of Health and Human Service: State Child Support Enforcement Offices" link (see Resources) to locate your state's child support enforcement office.

Call your state's child support office for information. To apply for services, you'll usually be asked to appear in person at the nearest child support services office.

Fill out the required paperwork to apply for child support help. The child support enforcement agency will provide you with the relevant paperwork. The exact paperwork will depend upon what level of services you need. For example, the paperwork required to collect on an existing child support court order will be different than if you have no order and need assistance obtaining one.

Attend every required meeting or appointment. For example, you may be required to take your child in for a DNA test to establish paternity.


  • How many years back child support you can collect will depend upon your state's laws. In general, you'll be able to collect back child support for a longer period of time if you have an existing child support order. If you don't have an order, the time may be limited to four or five years.