Child support is considered necessary to maintain the financial well-being of children after a divorce or separation. It is not voluntary. In fact, if you are the noncustodial parent of a child you most likely will be required to pay child support to fund the child’s needs including food, clothing, education, and living expenses.
If you fail to meet your child support obligations the custodial parent can contact the state and get help locating you. The state may then have the legal authority to garnish your wages to ensure child support is paid.
So what do you need to know before requesting help to receive child support? We will discuss the basics below.
You will have to provide information about the noncustodial parent.
If the noncustodial parent has refused to follow the child support order and you need help, you can contact the local child support office. Before you do, however, be sure you have gathered the right information about the parent to allow them to locate them. Information which you will need to give to the child support agency includes:
- The name, address, and Social Security number of the noncustodial parent
- The non-custodial parent’s employment information
- Financial information about the non-custodial parent, including tax returns, bank statements, and investment information
- The physical description of non-custodial parent
- Information about your children
- Details about where the non-custodial parent resides
You may need to establish paternity of your child.
Whether or not you will have to establish paternity of your child prior to requesting help recovering child support will depend on whether you were married when your child was born and whether paternity is in question. Each state has a paternity test process that the caseworker assigned to your case can explain.
For example, in Texas, The Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) can be used to establish paternity in many cases, but if it is not appropriate, the paternity can also be established through a court order.
Review the child support payment amounts.
Prior to filing for divorce, you will need to review the child support guidelines for your state. Although some states have very strict guidelines, other states may give family law judges more leeway to consider a variety of factors prior to determining child support payment amounts.
What if my partner refuses to pay child support?
The state views child support as necessary for the caring and well-being of children. With this in mind, they have dedicated state resources to ensuring that non-custodial parents fulfill their duties.
The good news is you do not have to meet with your ex-partner or spouse and beg them for payment. In fact, the money is generally deducted straight from their employment wages and sent to the state’s child support office.
The state may also have more aggressive means for getting payments. For example, they may be able to garnish tax refunds, place liens on property, or seize assets and sell them. Child support payments also cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
If you need help getting child support, you are not alone. There are resources to help you.
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