child support

What to Do If You Need Child Support

If you have recently ended a marriage or a relationship and had children at some point during the relationship, you may be eligible to receive child support from the other parent.

Child support laws exists to ensure that the child or children are appropriately cared for once the parents’ relationship has terminated.

Child support is a court-ordered requirement to ensure the custodial parent receives a fair amount of money from the non-custodial parent to take care of their child.

Child support requirements vary by state and jurisdiction and it can take some time to fill out all necessary paperwork and start receiving payments.

Here’s what you need to know about getting child support:

Filing for Child Support

You will need to get in touch with your local Office of Child Support Enforcement to determine if you are eligible for support.

This state agency may fall under the Social Services department in your state, Health and Human Services department, or even the Attorney General’s Office.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement exists to:

  • Locate non-custodial parents
  • Establish paternity
  • Define and send child support orders
  • Modify any child support orders
  • Proceed with collecting any unpaid child support payments

Filing for child support in court involves appearing at the local courthouse to identify both parents and establish paternity. This whole process can take some time and in some cases, DNA testing will be required.

Read: Rising Inflation and the High Cost of Divorce

Once the courts have established who is responsible for each child, they can create a formal payment plan to ensure the custodial parent receives child support on a timely basis.

Getting Child Support

In some cases, you may not have to file for child support directly. Many divorce settlements include costs of child support and your former spouse may provide you with a written agreement that states how much they will be paying you each month in child support, and how much financial aid they will provide for the child until he or she reaches 18 years of age. You can discuss the terms and stipulations of this agreement with your lawyer.

Payments are usually made to a local child support agency and the parent who is receiving child support will be given a check or have the amount deposited into an account through direct deposit.


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